Governor makes moves toward 2016 presidential run

Governor makes moves toward 2016 presidential run

Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he is “seriously looking at” whether to run for president in 2016.

He said he will likely announce a political action committee or other fundraising organization in the coming weeks as part of his decision-making process.

Walker confirmed Thursday that he’s brought on former Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Director Rick Wiley as a senior adviser to explore a presidential run.

“I wanted someone who had an understanding of people on a national basis but who I had been familiar with years ago in Wisconsin to try and help us sort that out,” Walker said.

The governor also announced he’ll speak at the Iowa Freedom Summit later in January, an important conservative event that will host nearly every potential 2016 contender.

“It is one more opportunity to share our vision and talk about what we’ve done in Wisconsin to see if it matches the interest of people in a state like Iowa as well as similar speeches will in other states,” Walker said.

University of Wisconsin political science professor Ken Mayer said while Walker’s elections and fight over Act 10 have garnered him national attention, the field could be tough.

“The issue for Walker is it is a crowded field, and there are other candidates or potential candidates with whom he will be competing for the conservative wing of the party in the presidential primary, and primaries are very important,” Mayer said.

To that end, Mayer said, Walker will have to get both fundraising and staff in place quickly.

“If he is running I would anticipate the announcement would come sometime before the end of February,” Mayer said.

Walker has said he’d wait until midyear to make a decision.

“If I were to run, I wouldn’t run for the sake of running, I would run because I thought I had something unique to offer the American people and because I could do good for this country, and I would run with the full intention of winning,” Walker said.

The governor will give two major speeches in the next month while he considers his decision. The State of the State address is scheduled for Jan. 13, and Walker announced he’ll give his budget address Feb. 3.