MADISON, Wis. - Will Reince Priebus run for Wisconsin governor?
Several Republican insiders tell us they were surprised to read a Politico report that the former White House Chief of Staff is talking about the possibility.
It's not the first time Priebus has been rumored for a Wisconsin run.
A Wisconsin Republican operative tells me Reince Priebus isn’t taking concrete steps to set up a campaign, but has talked of running since leaving the White House.
The Associated Press reports Priebus is listening to donors’ advice and could consider either running for senate or governor.
"It’s not surprising that he’d be interested in getting back into the game," Political expert Mordecai Lee said. "It’s really sort of energizing to run for office, to put everything you’ve got into it."
But so much hangs on whether Republican Senator Ron Johnson runs for reelection.
He still hadn't decided last month when we talked:
"Are you going to run in 2022?" FOX6 asked.
"I still don’t have all of the information," Johnson said. "I don’t feel under real pressure to make that decision really soon, so we’ll see how things play out here."
Priebus would be able to tap into a large donor network. The Kenosha-native led the Wisconsin Republican party then served as RNC chairman and joined President Trump as White House Chief of Staff… only to be fired.
That fracture was healed and he joined President Trump on the 2020 campaign trail in Wisconsin.
Priebus is president of Milwaukee-based law firm Michael Best. Though he works and lives in the D.C. area and hasn’t voted in Wisconsin since 2016.
"One of the favorite attack lines by politicians against someone else to call somebody a carpenter, in other words, that they moved to Wisconsin to run for office, but one can’t really say that about Reince Priebus," Lee said.
Former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has her sights set on the governor's race and set up a PAC and think tank.
"I think the 1848 project, if we listen well, as I intend to, and if we found evidence-based strategies, as I intend to. If we put it into an agenda that people are excited about, then, this is something that will unify people and will make Wisconsin better," she said.
On the Democratic side, Governor Tony Evers hasn’t yet committed or ruled out running for reelection in 2022.
With a long 2020 over, we still have 626 days until the 2022 election.