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BEAVER DAM — Gov. Scott Walker said Friday he has no intentions of running for U.S. Senate in 2018.

And he pledged that his failed presidential campaign would make a priority of repaying Wisconsin taxpayers for the cost of security travel during his bid for the Republican 2016 nomination.

“Every penny will be paid just as it has in the past,” Walker said of the reimbursement. “That will be top of the list in terms of payments.”

On the Senate, Walker said he’s talked to other governors who have left their statehouses for Washington, D.C., and were unhappy.

“All the governors I’ve talked to who told me they went from governor to United States Senate have told me how miserable they are, and I have no interest in being miserable,” Walker said.

He reiterated that he plans to serve out the remainder of his term and also isn’t interested in a Cabinet position. Asked whether he would run for vice president if asked by the Republican nominee, he said such speculation would be “presumptuous.”

“I plan on being governor,” Walker said. “I’m not positioning myself for anything else.”

Reporters questioned him for the first time since he dropped out of the 2016 presidential race Monday. Walker was touring a Beaver Dam manufacturer of stainless steel products celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Walker declined to discuss his aborted campaign, saying he’s looking forward, not backward. He also demurred when asked if he would ever run for president again. He said he hasn’t made a decision as to whether he’ll run for a third gubernatorial term in 2018.

Walker also declined to say whether he would appoint a replacement for Supreme Court Justice N. Patrick Crooks, who died Monday in his chambers, until after his funeral Saturday.

Walker said he would attend the funeral, the University of Wisconsin football game at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday night and the Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field on Monday night, and then continue to visit schools, clinics, small businesses, farms and manufacturers across the state to talk about jobs, the economy, workforce training and other issues he plans to address.

Asked how he can repair his standing in the state after his approval rate dropped below 40 percent amid a busy presidential travel schedule, Walker said simply, “Be there.”

“All of us know with relationships you can say all you want, but the best way to make that case is to be there,” Walker said.


Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.