UPDATE: Race for Governor: Scott Walker's Candidacy

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UPDATED Monday, August 16, 2010 --- 4:45 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker says he's so opposed to high-speed rail that if he's elected, he'll give back every cent in federal funding earmarked for the project.

The $810 million for the rail line between Madison and Milwaukee comes from federal stimulus funds. Walker on Monday said even so, the state will be on the hook for $10 million each year in maintenance and other costs.

The Milwaukee County Executive has previously suggested using the funds to fix aging infrastructure, but the money can only be used for the rail project. So Walker says he'd give it all back.

Walker and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann are the leading GOP candidates for governor. Neumann also opposes high-speed rail. On the Democratic side of the race, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett supports the project.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, August 11, 2010 --- 5:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is endorsing Republican Scott Walker's campaign for Wisconsin governor.

During an appearance outside the Capitol, Ridge said Walker has shown during his tenure as Milwaukee County executive that he knows how to limit government spending and encourage job growth in the private sector.

Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania, says Walker has "a proven record of leadership" and is a consensus builder. He says Walker's service in the state Assembly shows he also will know how to work with lawmakers to get things done.

Walker is running against former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann in next month's Republican primary. The winner will take on Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the general election.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, August 11, 2010 --- 5:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker says he would exempt public safety positions like prison guards and state troopers from furloughs.

Gov. Jim Doyle has required all state employees to be furloughed for 8 days per year for the last two years to save money. He has made few exceptions because he says it's a matter of fairness so all workers are sharing the pain.

But Walker says furloughing law enforcement officials actually costs the state more. He says furloughed prison guards, for instance, must be replaced by other employees working overtime.

Walker says public safety will be his "number one priority" as governor. He spoke during an appearance with former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, August 9, 2010 --- 12:25 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker wants to create a new commission to find government waste, fraud and abuse.

Walker said Monday that if elected governor he would create a seven-member commission to find problems in state spending programs and propose solutions.

The group would be appointed by the governor and be chaired by someone from the private sector and include one other member outside of government. Four state lawmakers and one member of the governor's administration would also be on it.

Walker claims he could save the state at least $300 million a year through the work of this group and other cost-saving moves, such as reducing overtime payments and eliminating improper jobless benefits.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 4, 2010 --- 2:24 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Paul Ryan are endorsing Scott Walker for governor.

Walker's campaign released the endorsements on Wednesday. Sensenbrenner and Ryan are endorsing Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, over fellow Republican and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann.

Sensenbrenner says Walker is earning his support because he has a proven record of holding the line on taxes and spending. Sensenbrenner says he'll do whatever he can to help him win.

Ryan says Walker practices smart budgeting and knows that Wisconsin needs less government spending and more job creation.

Walker has also been previously endorsed by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Petri.

The primary is Sept. 14.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, July 8, 2010 --- 12:31 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker says he raised $2.5 million in the first six months of the year, roughly the same as Democrat Tom Barrett.

Another Republican, Mark Neumann, says he raised just short of $2 million.

Barrett hasn't spent as much as Walker. The Milwaukee mayor reports having $2.9 million cash on hand compared with $2.5 million for Walker, the Milwaukee County executive. Neumann lags with just $1 million cash on hand.

Neumann is largely paying for his campaign himself. Last year Neumann loaned his campaign $1 million. His immediate release did not say how much money he gave his campaign so far this year.

A poll released last week showed Barrett trailing either Walker or Neumann 32 percent to 15 percent, with 52 percent undecided.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATE Tuesday, July 6, 2010 --- 11:37 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has turned in enough signatures to get on the ballot for governor this fall -- and then some.

Walker on Tuesday handed the Government Accountability Board a stack of what he said were 15,000 signatures from all 72 counties in Wisconsin.

The board says it could accept only his best 4,000, which is twice the maximum of 2,000 needed to qualify for the ballot.

Walker is running for the Republican nomination against former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann. The winner of the September primary will likely take on the only major Democrat in the race, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in the general election.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, June 17, 2010 --- 12:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker says he wants state employees to foot the bill for their portion of their pension benefits.

Currently, the state pays both the employer and employee contributions. For union members, that deal is part of the collective bargaining agreement.

Walker said in a release Thursday that requiring state employees and elected officials to pay their share would save taxpayers nearly $180 million a year. Walker says if elected he will voluntarily pay for his portion of the governor's pension.

Forcing state workers to pay at least some portion of their pension benefits has been proposed before but never enacted.

Walker is being challenged by former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann for the Republican nomination.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, May 24, 2010 --- 12:30 p.m.

VERONA, Wis. (AP) -- The chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party says he expects Scott Walker to defeat Mark Neumann in the primary race for governor.

Walker won the party's endorsement with more than 91 percent of the vote at the GOP convention on Saturday. Both Walker and Neumann will appear on the Sept. 14 ballot.

State party chairman Reince Priebus said Monday at a Walker campaign rally in Verona that he expects Walker to win, but if he's wrong he will support Neumann in the general election.

Priebus says the party won't exclude Neumann. He calls Neumann a good candidate.

Neumann asked delegates not to vote for him on Saturday, a move many viewed as a concession that Walker was going to win the endorsement.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Saturday, May 22, 2010 --- 6:35 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Scott Walker has overwhelmingly won the Republican Party's endorsement at its annual convention.

Walker's path to the endorsement Saturday comes after his Republican rival Mark Neumann asked delegates not to vote for him.

The party endorsement of Walker with 91.3 percent of the vote doesn't affect a candidate's standing on the ballot. But it does give the endorsed candidate access to additional fundraising and other resources through the state party.

Several delegates say they thought Neumann's withdrawing from the endorsement vote was a sign that Walker had much more support.

Walker received a boisterous, supportive reception while Neumann was greeted with polite but subdued applause. Neumann got 1.8 percent of the endorsement vote.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Saturday, May 22, 2010 --- 4:00 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Scott Walker is asking all Republicans, from those new to politics who identify with the tea party to longtime activists, to join his campaign for governor.

Walker received a raucously positive reception Saturday at the state Republican Party convention.

Walker says he wants to take on what he called the political machine in Madison. Currently, the Legislature is controlled by Democrats and the governor is a Democrat.

Walker outlined major parts of his campaign, which is focused on limiting government spending and cutting taxes. Walker also stressed that he would sign Arizona's controversial immigration law if he were elected and reiterated his opposition to building a high speed train between Madison and Milwaukee.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, May 17, 2010 --- 12:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker reversed himself on Arizona's controversial immigration law over the weekend.

While he initially expressed serious concerns about it, he later said he would be comfortable signing it into law.

Walker's campaign manager Keith Gilkes says the change came because Walker was still researching the issue and he got more information.

Walker initially said he was concerned the law might result in people getting pulled over because of how they look.

But in a later statement, he said changes to the law strengthening protections against racial profiling eased his concern.

Gilkes says Walker didn't change his position because of comments posted by upset supporters on his Facebook page.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, May 17, 2010 --- 11:15 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker reversed himself on Arizona's controversial immigration law over the weekend, first condemning it then saying he would be comfortable signing it into law.

The flip came after Walker was barraged with negative comments on his Facebook page following an Associated Press story reporting on his concerns about the law that critics say could lead to racial profiling.

Walker issued a statement Saturday afternoon saying he spoke with the state senator who introduced the Arizona law and he was now comfortable that the rights of citizens would be protected.

Walker's comments on immigration drew hundreds of Facebook comments, with several people saying they were disappointed and no longer supported him.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, May 14, 2010 --- 1:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A conservative Republican running for governor in Wisconsin is taking a tough public stance against Arizona's sweeping new immigration law.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker says in a statement that he has serious concerns about the Arizona law empowering police to question and arrest anyone they suspect is in the U.S. illegally.

His stance was the most definitive of any of the three major gubernatorial candidates, all of whom were asked by The Associated Press about the issue this week.

Republican challenger Mark Neumann declined to comment on the law.

Democrat Tom Barrett's spokesman Phil Walzak says Barrett is concerned about the rights of citizens and legal immigrants being violated.

All three say there needs to be a national solution.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, May 10, 2010 --- 4:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Former congressman and the 2006 Republican candidate for governor Mark Green is endorsing Scott Walker in this year's race.

Walker faces a challenge for the GOP nomination from former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann.

Green says that Walker has common sense and a commitment to fiscal discipline that will get improve the state's economy.

Walker and Green both ran for the Republican nomination in 2006, but Walker dropped out in favor of Green. He went on to lose to Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

After losing that election, Green left Wisconsin to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Tanzania. He now works as director of Malaria No More's policy center in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, April 30, 2010 --- 12:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Former Gov. Tommy Thompson is one of the big names scheduled to appear at a high-priced fundraiser in Washington, D.C., next week for Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker.

Walker liked to boast on the campaign trail and in television ads that he's so frugal he packs his own brown bag lunch most days. But to get into Tuesday's noon fundraiser as a host, Walker is asking for donations between $250 and $1,000.

In addition to Thompson, others scheduled to attend include current Republican congressmen from Wisconsin Tom Petri, Paul Ryan and Jim Sensenbrenner. Former congressman and U.S. Sen. Bob Kasten is also slated to be there.

Walker is being challenged for the Republican nomination by former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann. The primary is Sept. 14.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, March 22, 2010 --- 8:30 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Viewers will have to watch Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker's second television ad closely to see what office he is running for.

Just like his first ad launched earlier this month, Walker doesn't say in the new one starting Monday that he is running for governor.

But in the latest ad, Walker is shown putting sandwiches into a brown bag that says, "Scott Walker for Governor" on it. And he mentions his campaign, but doesn't say that it's for governor.

Walker says he packs a lunch so he can afford Wisconsin's high taxes. He describes three themes of his campaign based around reducing the size of government and spending less.

Walker is being challenged for the Republican nomination by former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 17, 2010 --- 4:30 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker says Democratic leadership harmed the Milwaukee job market by agreeing to buy trains from a Spanish company rather than a local maker.

Walker on Wednesday said state and city leaders unfairly used taxpayer subsidies that prevented the contract from going to Milwaukee-based Super Steel Products Corp.

Instead the state agreed to spend $47 million on two trains from Talgo Inc., whose parent company is based in Madrid. The trains are for Amtrak's Milwaukee-to-Chicago line.

Jeff Fleming is a spokesman for the Milwaukee Department of City Development. He says Super Steel couldn't make the specific high-speed trains the state needed.

Walker is being challenged for his party's nomination by former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is the highest-profile Democratic candidate.

On the Net:
Super Steel Products Corp.:
http://www.supersteel.com/

Talgo:
http://www.talgoamerica.com/

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 16,2010---10:58 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Scott Walker fundraising gimmick involving a brown bag to exemplify his stinginess recycles an award-winning idea that was first used by Ohio Republican George Voinovich 12 years ago.

Reusing successful campaign tactics certainly isn't new. But Walker, a Republican candidate for governor, has taken the brown bag idea to a new level making it the central theme of his campaign.

Both letters were handled by the same direct mail consultant and sent in a brown bag.

Walker campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader says the campaign was looking for ways to express to voters how conservative Walker is and settled on the brown bag image.

Liberal critics say copping the same fundraising tactic as Voinovich shows Walker is bereft of original ideas.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, March 15, 2010 --- 7:30 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Records show Republican Scott Walker's campaign for governor has spent thousands of dollars on meals, sometimes at expensive restaurants, despite his claim he is so cheap he packs his lunch every day.

Walker's campaign has launched a Web site, www.brownbagmovement.com, where he talks about packing his brown bag lunch to save money. Supporters can even buy lunch bags that promote his anti-tax philosophy on the site.

But campaign finance records show Walker's campaign has rang up big tabs at some restaurants for meetings, including more than $2,000 at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Middleton in October.

Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin says the campaign's free spending on meals does not square with the image of the candidate it is promoting.

Walker campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader says that criticism is absurd and the spending was appropriate.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 23, 2010 --- 5:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is offering a bold promise of jobs for the state if he's elected governor.

The Republican says the state's business climate is hurting because of too much government interference. He says his six-step plan will bring 250,000 jobs and 10,000 new businesses to the state by 2015.

Walker's plan includes lowering taxes, limiting regulations and improving health care and infrastructure.

Walker spoke Tuesday at the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce business day in Madison. He offered few specifics of his plan, saying he wanted to introduce the key points now and will revisit them in coming weeks.

Earlier Tuesday his Democratic rival, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, pledged to attract employers through tax credits for job creation.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 17, 2010 --- 7:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be hosting a fundraiser for Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker.

Bush is slated to headline a March 8 fundraiser in Milwaukee. He served two terms as Florida's governor, leaving office in 2007.

Tickets for the event are $250 per person.

In the last six months of 2009 Walker raised nearly $1.8 million followed by $1.3 million from Republican rival Mark Neumann. Neumann loaned his campaign $1 million.

Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett raised over $800,000, but he didn't get into the race until November.

The primary is Sept. 14 and the election is Nov. 2.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, July 20, 2009 --- 10:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Scott Walker says raising $1.1 million in the first six months of this year shows that his campaign for governor "is for real."

Reports filed Monday show Walker out-raised incumbent Gov. Jim Doyle by $200,000.

Walker says his strong fundraising should remove any doubts from those who wondered whether he could raise the money needed to mount a successful campaign. Concerns over his fundraising ability led to his dropping out of the governor's race in 2006.

Doyle campaign spokesman Mike Edmondson says he believes the governor is in a "very competitive" position. But he says Doyle has been focused on his job as governor, not raising campaign money.

Doyle has $2 million cash on hand and Walker has $1.1 million.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted Wednesday, July 1, 2009 -- 4:45 pm
By Zac Schultz

Madison: Now that the state budget has been signed, speculation at the Capitol has turned to the fall of 2010 and the race for Governor.

The field is becoming quite clear. Wednesday, former Republican Congressman Mark Neumann filed papers announcing his candidacy. "I can't sit on the sidelines and watch as our jobs leave this state."

Neumann represented the 1st Congressional District in the mid-90's, but he is best known for his close loss to Sen. Russ Feingold in the 1998 race for the U.S. Senate.

Neumann joins two other challengers in the Republican primary. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker ran in 2006 before eventually dropping out. He's running again. "I know that we can build a better Wisconsin and that's why I'm proud to stand in my hometown in Wauwautosa and declare to the people of this state that I'm going to run for Governor to bring this state back."

Appleton businessman Mark Todd is also running.

Neumann has spent 10 years runnning his own real estate development firm and fears his grandchildren won't be able to get jobs when they grow up. "I look at those little boys and I ask myself, where are they going to be working? Are they going to be working in Wisconsin when they grow up or are they going to be in Mexico or China or India?"

It's not a guarantee the Republican winner will be facing Gov. Jim Doyle. He has repeatedly declined to say if he's running for a third term. " I still got a lot of work ahead of me before I worry about that," Doyle said Monday.

No matter what, Neumann says the primary issue will be jobs. "Creating jobs here in the state of Wisconsin is going to be the single number one issue in this campaign. Whoever lays out the best plan to do that is going to be elected the next Governor."

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 28, 2009 --- 7:50 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Republican Scott Walker is launching his campaign for governor by blaming the state's economic woes on incumbent Governor Jim Doyle.

Walker, who's served as Milwaukee County executive since 2002, scheduled a series of campaign stops today.

He will be challenged for the Republican nomination. But in his prepared remarks, the Milwaukee County executive focused only the Democratic governor, who's widely expected to seek a third four-year term next year.

Walker told The Associated Press in an interview that the majority of Wisconsin residents believe the state is headed in the wrong direction.

He criticized Doyle's approach to fixing the state's economy with his budget proposal that relies heavily on federal stimulus money and tax increases, including one on oil companies and households making more than $300,000 a year. Doyle is also proposing millions of dollars in spending cuts and other accounting moves to deal with the shortfall.

Walker hasn't released a counterproposal. But he said government should be cut more, including freezing or lowering state employees' salaries and looking at increasing workers' health and retirement costs.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Sunday, April 26, 2009 --- 12:15 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is expected to officially announce his bid for governor on Tuesday.

The Republican ran in 2006 but dropped out early in the year to make way for then-U.S. Rep. Mark Green. Green went on to lose to Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

Walker has been criticizing Doyle's budget and spending decisions in fundraising letters in recent weeks.

Doyle is widely expected to seek re-election next year.

Walker says he will make a "very special announcement" Tuesday at five stops around the state. The first is in Green Bay. He then travels to Rothschild, Eau Claire, Dane and Wauwatosa.

Another Republican, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, also is weighing a run and expects to announce his decision this fall.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Saturday, April 25, 2009 --- 5:48 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker says he has filed paperwork to run for Wisconsin governor in 2010.

The Republican made the announcement Friday on his Twitter account, which he started last Monday.

Walker has already said he plans to make a "special announcement" Tuesday.

Another Republican, former Congressman Mark Neumann told the Wisconsin State Journal he also plans to seek the nomination.

Walker was an early candidate in the 2006 governor's race. But he dropped out when his fundraising lagged behind that of eventual nominee and then-U.S. Rep. Mark Green.

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle is expected to seek a third four-year term next year.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, April 20, 2009 --- 1:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Expected Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker plans to make what he is calling a "very special announcement" next week.

Walker is widely expected to announce he is running for governor in 2010.

He has sent an invitation to Republican activists and supporters announcing a five-stop tour on April 28 to make his announcement.

Walker aide Keith Gilkes declined to comment on the nature of the announcement.

Currently the Milwaukee County executive, Walker has been acting like a candidate for governor for months by raising money and attacking Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

Doyle has not officially said whether he will seek a third term next year.

Walker ran for a short while in 2006 but dropped out when his fundraising lagged.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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