The Wisconsin governor left a key piece of his national political infrastructure in place: Our American Revival, the tax-exempt “527” organization that housed his pre-presidential campaign operation, continues to collect funding from big-money GOP donors and fund some of Walker’s travel.
Walker has kept a lower profile since September, focusing on a jam-packed schedule of “listening tour” events across Wisconsin and looking to boost his flagging poll numbers. But Walker has simultaneously preserved his national political infrastructure and even, via campaign duties for Republican governors, opened new doors to a second act in national politics — including a possible second shot at running for president.
“His focus is within the state, in spending time talking with voters. The listening sessions he’s been doing … that is an opportunity to kind of reconnect with voters in the state,” Keith Gilkes, Walker’s chief political adviser, said in an interview. But, Gilkes says: “People still want to hear his story and what’s been enacted in Wisconsin. … OAR provides that vehicle for him to travel and talk about it more extensively. It gives him the opportunity from time to time to weigh in nationally.”
A D.C. Republican was more blunt: “The 527 … leaves all options open for what he wants to do next,” the Republican said. “Run for governor, not run, run for president in 2020 — it’s a vehicle for whatever he wants.”