Post-election speculation begins about Walker 2016 run
MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker is celebrating a second term win while others are wondering whether another election is in his future.
Walker beat challenger Mary Burke by a nearly identical margin to his 2010 election. Unofficial totals show Walker besting Burke by 52 to 47 percent. But already the question is whether campaign 2016 is beginning.
Wednesday was full of cheers and applause as Walker greeted his cabinet at the state Capitol. But he said he was more matter-of-fact when he was told he’d won Tuesday night.
“My reaction was, ‘OK, now it’s time to get back to work,'” Walker said.
But some are wondering how long that singular focus will last, especially after his election night Washington-centric victory speech.
“You see folks in Washington like this top-down approach that’s old and artificial and outdated that says the government knows best,” Walker said Tuesday night. “We believe you should build an economy from the ground up that’s new and fresh and organic, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he doesn’t know anything about Walker’s other plans.
“In all of our conversations not one time even kind of joking Gov. Walker has brought up running for president,” Vos said.
But Vos said he’s not surprised fellow Republicans want Walker to run in 2016.
“The advice I would give if he asked me, and he hasn’t, is to take this fall and enjoy some time with your family over the holidays. We’re going to put the budget together, and then once the snow melts and the dust has settled on the election cycle then you can make that decision,” Vos said. “But I hope he doesn’t rush to any decision.”
Democrats are more concerned that national politics will leave Wisconsin behind.
“I have little doubt that the governor is going to be testing the waters mightily in Iowa and many other states across the nation,” Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said. “The question will be that if he is more engaged in presidential ambitions than he is in the business of the state then I think we’re in trouble.”
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who also ran for president once, told Wisconsin Eye he sees it differently.
“If he runs for president, don’t do anything I did, do just the opposite and he’ll have a much better chance,” Thompson joked on the program taped Wednesday. “But sure, why not. My biggest mistake is I didn’t run for president when I was governor and was at the top of my game. I waited until I left. If he’s got it in his psyche and he believes that’s the right thing why shouldn’t he run?”
The governor didn’t take questions at the cabinet meeting Wednesday, but told the Associated Press Tuesday night that any decision on 2016 would have to wait.