Walker May Skip Exploratory Committee in 2016 Run

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks during the NRA's Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits April 13, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.

(Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican among the top tier of his party’s presidential aspirants, said he may skip the traditional exploratory committee if he runs for president in 2016.

“Should we decide to, we would go probably from where we are at that, to an outright presidential campaign if we thought the circumstances were right, but that’s still a ways off,” Walker told reporters in Washington on Saturday as he attended the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

Last month, Walker announced he had formed a 527 political action committee, dubbed Our American Revival, in a move that allowed him to raise money and increase his visibility ahead of a possible campaign. Earlier this month, he went on a trade mission to the U.K., similar to one a week earlier by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

He told reporters Saturday that President Barack Obama overstepped his authority with his executive actions on immigration. The governor said a court order blocking Obama’s actions will bolster lawmakers’ hands in the dispute over U.S. immigration policies.

The 47-year-old governor said he remains friends with Christie and has a longstanding relationship with another potential 2016 candidate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Walker said the timing of any announcement he may make about a campaign would be dictated by the end of the Wisconsin budget year in June.

Specific Timeline

“I don’t know about a specific timeline, I just think any reasonable candidate, whether it be my consideration or anyone else, has to be in by mid-year,” Walker said. “You’ve got to be in by the summer at some point. I don’t know if there’s a technical day. In my case, that’s a good time.”

Walker also said he supports plans for the Wisconsin Legislature to debate a right-to-work bill next week that would say private-sector workers couldn’t be required to join unions or pay dues as a condition of employment.

The governor said he thinks there are enough votes in the state Assembly and Senate to enact the measure, four years after his move to limit collective bargaining for most public employees led to weeks of protest at the state capitol in Madison.

“You’re going to see a strong showing in both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature to give people the right, the freedom to choose -- just like we gave public employees the freedom to choose,” Walker said.

Elected to his first term in 2010, Walker survived a recall election in 2012 and won a second term in November. He said he has campaigned 14 times in the last 25 years.

“Certainly, I’m accustomed to running,” he said. “It’s a good thing I ran track in high school.”

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