This post is part of our coverage of the 2017 state GOP convention in Wisconsin Dells. See more coverage here.
Gov. Scott Walker continued to tee up his 2018 re-election bid, telling GOP activists this morning Wisconsin is a top 10 state for business, education and employment, but he’s “ready to do more.”
Walker has said he will not formally announce whether he will seek re-election until after the budget is done later this year. But he has continued to drop hints about his intentions, including the announcement this week he has hired Joe Fadness to be his campaign manager.
Walker left little doubt where he is leaning in his speech, even issuing a challenge to those attending the GOP state convention.
The guv said he is ready to do more to lower taxes, improve student success and build a stronger workforce.
“I am ready to do more,” Walker said. “I am ready to do more to help move Wisconsin forward and the simple question for you this morning is: Are you ready? Are you ready to do more?”
Walker proclaimed Wisconsin a “top 10 state” on a series of issues, touting a recent ranking that it’s one of the top 10 states in the country to do business. Walker said under his predecessor, Dem Jim Doyle, the state was among the 10 worst.
The guv said he’s more optimistic about the future of the state than he’s ever been.
“We have shown the world that commonsense conservative reforms work,” Walker said. “But ladies and gentlemen, there is more work to be done.”
State Dem Chair Martha Laning knocked the guv, saying he’s failed to deliver on his promise to help give Wisconsin families the chance to pursue the American dream.
“In 2018 Wisconsin will have a choice to make, stick to the Walker way of having one set of rules for the wealthy and another for the rest of us, or a vote to change the way we do business and ensure every family in WI has to opportunity to rise in society,” Laning said.
Walker’s intentions for 2018 were an open joke at this year’s convention. His son Alex Walker, who addressed the convention as Midwest regional vice chair of College Republicans, told activists they’ll have the opportunity to elect a series of GOP candidates next year, including his father, if he runs, drawing laughs.
State GOP Chair Brad Courtney, meanwhile, told activists how important they will be to Walker next year, saying the guv is not going to hire field staff or put up field offices. Instead, that will be the party’s responsibility. Courtney said Walker believes in the grassroots.
“That’s why he’s giving us the keys to the campaign,” Courtney said.