• WisPolitics


Friday, January 9, 2015

 6:26 PM 

Wiley's work with Walker campaign began weeks ago, sources say

On the surface, it looks like Gov. Scott Walker's possible presidential campaign has suddenly exploded to life.

The reality, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the developments, is the process began shortly after Walker secured re-election in November and has been gradually building since.

Walker is continuing to make moves to position himself for a bid. The sources told WisPolitics.com that Walker will address the RNC on Thursday as it meets in San Diego to re-elect Chair Reince Priebus, the former chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party. One source added Walker was expected to meet with delegations from key early states in the presidential primary process.

Walker's campaign confirmed he would be in San Diego for the meeting, but declined further comment.

Though the news that Walker has brought on former state GOP exec Rick Wiley to help build his political operation broke this week, the sources said Walker's campaign first reached out to the operative shortly after his November victory.

By mid-December, Wiley was working the phones, talking to possible additions to Walker's campaign. Before Christmas, he was feeling out Walker's gubernatorial campaign staffers in Wisconsin on whether they wanted to stick around if the guv ran for president. Staffers were asked where they saw themselves in a possible presidential campaign and told to take the holidays to think things over.

It is yet to be determined how some of Walker's Wisconsin staffers will be slotted in the new operation, and outside additions are expected soon, the sources said.

"Wiley is going to be in charge of figuring out what's the right structure and what's the best way to integrate people," said one source with knowledge of the campaign's thinking.

Wiley, an Illinois native, first landed in Wisconsin politics working for then-state Rep. Gene Hahn. Wiley later spent six years working for the state GOP, leaving his position as executive director to join Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. He later joined the RNC, where he spent two years as political director, and went to Mercury Public Affairs in 2013. He spent last fall working on Senate campaigns, including Republican Joni Ernst's winning effort in Iowa.

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