My family and I have decided that I will not be a candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2022. This was a difficult decision. I have spent the past 15 months traveling the state meeting with citizens, business owners and political leaders to gauge their interest in my candidacy. I was very encouraged by the response I received and will be forever grateful to those who offered support.
I know what it takes to win statewide. I was communications director on Tommy’s first reelection in 1990, and then campaign manager for the most successful campaign in state history in 1994. To run the type of positive, issue-oriented grassroots campaign we wanted to run required time and money. You need both to raise name ID statewide. While I’m confident we could have raised the money, the reality was we lost too much precious time trying to close on the sale of our primary business. We were not about to sell to just anyone. It had to be the right fit. We are thrilled to have found that partner in Michael Best Strategies. They are committed to the same top-notch professional service as we have been for the past 29 years, and they have public affairs and legal resources available to offer clients.
History says the GOP needs a competitive primary to beat an incumbent Democrat governor in 2022. It has only happened twice in my lifetime. The last time was 1986 when Tommy Thompson beat Tony Earl. Tommy won a five-way primary before going on to win 4 four-year terms and become the longest serving governor in Wisconsin history. The other time was 1978 when upstart Lee Dreyfus defeated party-endorsed Bob Kasten in the GOP primary before defeating interim Governor Marty Schreiber.
I care deeply about the state of Wisconsin. I believe we can be the best state in the nation. And while I won’t be running for office next year, I will continue to use my talents to advocate for and work toward a better Wisconsin.
I’m excited to join Michael Best Strategies. I look forward to helping them grow their business. Carol, Tony Langenhol, and I are proud of the work we have done to produce results for our clients over the past 29 years, and we are ready to expand that successful model at Michael Best Strategies.
I will continue to remain involved in conservative public policy development through Common Sense Wisconsin, a non-profit 501c4 corporation. A substantive policy agenda that gives voters a reason to vote is the best way for Republicans to expand their coalition and win in 2022.