MADISON (AP) — The 25-year-old son of former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker confirmed Saturday that he is considering running for the 5th Congressional District seat to be vacated in January 2021 by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.
In a post on his Facebook page, Matt Walker thanked Sensenbrenner for his many years of service to the suburban Milwaukee district, calling him “consistent conservative voice in Washington.”
Walker noted that he is a founder and partner of a digital marketing and advertising agency called Platform Digital, but said that while he enjoys being a small business owner, he is “actively exploring a possible Congressional campaign.
“The sacrifices of public office may be great, but the opportunity for my generation to step up and provide a new perspective is even greater. 21st-century problems require 21st-century solutions,” Walker wrote.
He continued: “Our country needs leaders that understand the transformative impact of technology on our culture, businesses, and government. Social media and giant tech are critical to our public discourse but require new solutions to combat disinformation and extremism. Our regulation of businesses and trade must continue to be modernized to advance an ever-expanding digital economy. Now is the time for our government institutions to embrace technology to better serve constituents.
“I am exploring this potential campaign because there are plenty of Republicans, myself included, that will stand for lower taxes and higher standards, yet I am uniquely positioned to provide a fresh perspective on the 21st-century problems facing our nation.”
Walker said that regardless of whether he does run for Congress, his generation “has an opportunity to catapult our country forward or be the net that holds us back. We must move forward.”
The Facebook post followed a taped television interview, tweet and statement issued by former Governor Walker on Thursday and Friday saying that Matt was interested in the traditionally conservative seat that includes the city of Wauwatosa, where he was born and grew up, as well as Jefferson County.
Sensenbrenner announced last week that he would not be seeking re-election to the post in November 2020. He has been in Congress for 40 years, first representing District 9 and, since 2003, District 5.
Matt Walker, a 2016 Marquette University graduate, has never run for public office.
“He’s had a number of people reach out to him,” Scott Walker said in an interview on WISN-TV. “I think in particular what intrigues him is he feels frustrated that AOC (New York Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez) somehow nationally is reflective of his generation. He’s 25 and he feels like there needs to be a counter-voice to that.”
The former governor has been a vocal critic of Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist. Since losing re-election as governor in November, Walker has continued to comment on politics on Twitter and in national media appearances, with Ocasio-Cortez as a frequent target, and has taken on jobs for conservative groups. He has ruled out running for office in 2020 or 2022 because he’s taking a job in 2021 as president of the Young America’s Foundation.
For now, he is the only Walker talking about Matt’s potential run. Matt Walker did not respond to messages sent Thursday and Friday asking about his interest in the seat.
“When he asked me about it the other day, I gave him the advice you might not think of necessarily politically,” Scott Walker said. “I said, ‘One, you need to pray about it. If it’s God’s will to get in or not get in, you’ll figure that out first and foremost.’”
If Matt Walker were to run for Congress, he would be entering politics at a young age, just like his father. Scott Walker first ran for the state Assembly in 1990 when he was 22. He lost that race, but won an Assembly seat in 1993, at age 25, and remained in elected office until last year, when he lost to Democrat Tony Evers as he sought a third term as governor.
Scott Walker said he told his son that he would need to consult with his girlfriend and business partners before making a decision. Matt Walker is a partner and co-founder of Platform Digital, a company that says it helps “businesses leverage their brands through technology and strategy.”
Matt Walker joins a long list of Republicans, including several prominent office holders, who are looking at running to replace retiring Sensenbrenner, who has held the seat since 1978.
Others considering it include: former U.S. Senate nominee Leah Vukmir; her Republican challenger Kevin Nicholson; Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who currently represents a portion of Jefferson County; state Sens. Dale Kooyenga and Chris Kapenga; state Rep. Adam Neylon; Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow; Ben Voelkel, spokesman for Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson; and Vince Trovato, another early Trump backer and his first state director in 2016.
A Matt Walker candidacy could make for some interesting debate around the family dinner table. His younger brother, Walker’s other son Alex, worked on Vukmir’s Senate campaign last year. He is now running the re-election campaign for Republican U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, who represents southeast Wisconsin in Congress.
Democratic Party spokeswoman Courtney Beyer called Matt Walker unqualified and branded his potential candidacy as “a new level of petty for Scott Walker.”
“His former friends and supporters also considering a run must be fuming,” Beyer said.