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Walker Won't Rule Out Future White House Bid, Says Kleefisch Would Make 'Hell Of A Great Governor'

Marti Mikkelson
Former Gov. Scott Walker spoke at the Milwaukee Press Club luncheon on Tuesday

We haven’t heard much from former Republican Gov. Scott Walker since he narrowly lost to Democrat Tony Evers more than a year ago. But on Tuesday, Walker answered questions on a variety of topics in downtown Milwaukee.

Walker spoke to a small crowd of about 40 people at the Milwaukee Press Club luncheon. He updated the gathering on what he’s been doing these days, which includes leading a national effort for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Walker says he looks forward to a new full-time job he’ll be starting in 2021. He'll be president of the Young America’s Foundation, a national conservative youth group based in Virginia. He says he plans to stay in the job for four years. As far as plans to run for public office after that, Walker says — who knows? 

"Never say never, my wife Tonette was exactly right when we did end-of-the-term, end-of-the-tenure interviews, I wouldn’t rule anything out," Walker says.

Walker quipped that he's 22 years younger than President Trump so he would "definitely have time" to mount another presidential bid down the line. Walker launched a bid for the GOP nomination in 2015, but he was one of the first candidates to drop out of the race. He says because of the job with the foundation, he won’t be running for governor in 2022. Instead, Walker says he has encouraged his former lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, to launch a bid.

"I personally hope Rebecca Kleefisch runs for governor. I think she would win and I think she'd be a hell of a great governor if she was elected," Walker says.

Gov. Tony Evers is serving his first term. Walker declined to critique the Evers administration so far, saying that his predecessor, former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, offered the same courtesy. He says Doyle kept quiet about him during the eight years he was governor. 

Walker also commented on the wide field of Democrats angling to challenge President Trump in 2020. He says if Bernie Sanders is nominated, he would pose the biggest threat to Trump in Wisconsin. Walker says while he disagrees with Sanders politically, he has one thing that the rest don't – authenticity.

"I think he's the guy I'm the most concerned about because I think in the Midwest, particularly in Wisconsin, authenticity is a big deal, particularly for persuadable voters," Walker says.

Walker urged Trump to make frequent campaign stops in Wisconsin in 2020 and focus on kitchen table issues, such as jobs and the economy.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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