MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he won’t run for office again in 2022 because he has accepted a new full-time job running a group based in Washington, D.C., that promotes conservative ideas among young people.
The Republican had been openly considering running for his old job as governor or for U.S. Senate in 2022. But Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his job as president of the Young America’s Foundation, which is based in the Washington area, will make it impossible for him to run for office in 2022.
“Starting January 2021, this will be full-time,” Walker told the Journal Sentinel of his new job. “I won’t be engaged in anything else. This will be my sole occupation.”
Walker said he was announcing his new job now, more than a year before it begins, so those considering running for governor or U.S. Senate knew his intentions early. Walker said that his term with Young America’s Foundation will begin after the current president steps down after more than 40 years.
Walker did not immediately return a call from the Associated Press seeking comment.
Walker, 51, is expected to serve four years in the new position. Walker spent 26 years in elected office before being defeated in November by Democrat Tony Evers.
There are no statewide partisan races on the ballot in 2020. In 2022, both Evers and Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson will be up for re-election. Johnson has not yet said whether he will seek a third term. He is also considering running for governor or retiring from politics.
Many Republicans have been considering running for one of those offices, and Walker’s announcement that he won’t get in will only fuel interest.
Walker, an evangelical Christian, said he and his wife Tonette spent “a lot of time thinking about and praying about” the move.
“But it just feels like God’s calling us to take on this mission,” he said.
Since his 2018 defeat, Walker joined a speaker’s group, is the fundraising chairman for a group that helps Republicans with redistricting plans and is honorary chairman of a group advocating for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Walker has also said he would lead the effort to re-elect President Donald Trump in Wisconsin.
Walker, who lives in Milwaukee, said he will maintain a residence in Wisconsin and look for another one in either northern Virginia or Washington, D.C.
Walker said he hoped to take the Young America’s Foundation “to the next tier” in its mission of promoting conservatism among young people, including having a presence on every public and private college campus in the country.
The Young America’s Foundation bills itself as “the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement.” It was founded in 1977 and merged in 2011 with Young Americans for Freedom, a group launched in 1960 by one of the godfathers of the modern conservative movement, William F. Buckley. It has been active in battles over speech at universities and in sending conservative speakers to college campuses.
The foundation reported about $24 million in donations and bequests in 2018, and close to the same amount in spending. The current president, Ron Robinson, is listed in the organization’s 2017 tax forms as earning $695,000 from the group, plus more than $300,000 in other compensation.