Reince Priebus Mulling Bid for Governor or US Senate in Battleground State


Reince Priebus, a former White House chief of staff to Donald Trump, has called Republican donors in Wisconsin to discuss a possible bid for governor or the U.S. Senate next year, according to a GOP strategist who spoke directly with Priebus.

The Republican described Priebus, who now works for a law firm and lives outside Washington, as far from making a decision and largely listening to donors’ advice. The strategist was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Priebus would only consider running for Senate if incumbent Republican Ron Johnson did not seek a third term, the strategist said. Johnson has not said when he will announce his intentions.

Republicans are searching for a candidate for what could be an open race for governor.

Some began reaching out to Priebus after conservative talk radio host Jay Weber floated Priebus’ name, the strategist said.

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Priebus did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Priebus served as Trump’s chief of staff for the first six months of Trump’s term in 2017. He appeared with Trump at campaign rallies in Wisconsin last year.

After leaving Trump’s White House, Priebus returned to work for the Washington office of the Milwaukee-based law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich.

His residency in Washington would not bar him from serving in Congress or as governor.

Would you support Priebus for governor of Wisconsin or US Senate?

Priebus last voted in Wisconsin in the 2016 presidential election, when Trump narrowly won the state. President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Wisconsin by a slim margin in the 2020 election.

Priebus, a native of Kenosha, was head of the Wisconsin Republican Party from 2007-09 before spending the next six years as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

He has run for office once before in the state, losing to Democrat Bob Wirch in a 2004 state Senate race.

Priebus is among several Republicans eyeing a possible run for governor in 2022. Tony Evers, a Democrat, has not yet said whether he will seek re-election.

Former Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is building a campaign and several others are thinking about it, including U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, lobbyist Bill McCoshen and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson.

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