Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says while he’s considering a U.S. Senate bid in 2018, his final decision may rest on U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy.
“I just think that Congressman Duffy is well positioned, so he’s kind of driving the train right now,” Fitzgerald told a WisPolitics.com luncheon in Madison Feb. 9. The Juneau Republican added that Duffy’s northwest Wisconsin district spans much of the state and the fellow backer of President Trump is “on Fox News every other morning.”
But there are also several other “tier one” candidates who could jump into the race, Fitzgerald said, though he said a crowded primary would likely hurt the GOP.
“We need to get our act together, because we don’t need a seven-way primary where everyone is out there trying to raise cash. Everyone’s out there trying to develop a message, and then at the end of the day, Sen. Baldwin is sitting back in D.C. and gets easily reelected,” Fitzgerald said.
That’s what happened in 2012 when Baldwin, D-Madison, first got elected to the seat, Fitzgerald said.
His brother, then-Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, ran against businessman Eric Hovde, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann and former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who prevailed in the GOP primary.
“I just watched my brother go through the frustration of pounding his head against the wall trying to get a message out and raise revenue to get your message out and not being able to pull it off,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the luncheon, Fitzgerald said Republicans should unify around Duffy if he runs and if he doesn’t, the party needs to “figure out exactly what our game plan is.”
He also said at the luncheon he’d “absolutely” enjoy working in D.C. and like any other elected official “would never close the door to any of that stuff.”
“Those are the types of challenges that everyone’s looking for,” Fitzgerald said.
His path to D.C. could also include a job in Trump’s administration. Fitzgerald was an early backer of Trump and pushed his colleagues to get on the “Trump train.”
Fitzgerald said he met with Trump for 15 minutes when he was in Green Bay in October and that shortly after the election, Trump’s team called him to say they were gathering resumes from people in Wisconsin and wanted him to submit one.
“I thought it was kind of cool that they asked for a resume, and I submitted it, but nothing has changed since then,” Fitzgerald said.
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