MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Scott Walker told donors on Friday that he’s still praying over whether to run for president in 2016, but the Wisconsin governor said he believes he is “uniquely qualified to lead this country.”
In separate fundraising emails sent Friday, Walker asked supporters if he should run for president even though his candidacy is a near certainty. He’s been traveling the country, raising money and building the infrastructure for months, and is one of the most viable potential Republican candidates.
On Thursday Walker opened a “testing the waters” bank account, another step toward a run.
“I have been praying about this decision for a long time,” Walker, the son of a Baptist preacher, said in one email sent Friday asking for donations of between $10 and $500. When Walker first acknowledged he was serious considering running for president back in November, shortly after winning re-election to a second term, he said he was praying about it.
“I spend a lot of time not just talking with people but praying about, thinking about with my family as well whether or not eventually that might be a call to run for the presidency,” Walker said then. “I think you shouldn’t run unless you feel you’re called to do it.”
Walker has been traveling the country for months, along with other announced and likely Republican presidential candidates. On Saturday, Walker was scheduled to speak at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia and at the Road to Majority conference in Washington.
He returned this week from a trade mission in Canada, his fourth overseas trip in five months.
Wisconsin Democratic Party chairwoman Martha Laning said it’s ridiculous for Walker to act as if he hasn’t already made up his mind about running.
“Scott Walker isn’t ‘testing the waters,’ he’s pushing the limits on how much money he can raise before he officially announces his candidacy,” she said in a statement. “It’s absurd to believe he’s basing his decision on whether to run for president on how many $10 donations he gets.”
Walker has said he won’t officially announce a presidential campaign until he has signed the state budget into law. Republicans who control the Legislature have been at an impasse for three weeks, with no resolution in sight. In his fundraising emails, Walker doesn’t talk about that standstill, but instead touts past victories and even takes a not-so-veiled swipe at Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“I didn’t inherit fame or fortune and I don’t think being President is by birthright, but I do believe I am uniquely qualified to lead this country,” Walker wrote, echoing comments he’s made in stump speeches.
Walker, who won a 2012 recall motivated by his push to effectively end collective bargaining for public workers, said in another fundraising message Friday that “it took guts to take on the Big Government Labor Bosses who were used to running the show in Wisconsin.”
“Now it’s time to see if our conservative vision should be taken beyond Wisconsin’s borders, but I can’t make that important decision without you by my side,” Walker wrote.
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