In what some have seen as an acknowledgment of the
possibility of a recall election, the chief of staff for the governor has
decided to leave his position.
Last week, Keith Gilkes announced he would resign from his position
as the chief of staff for Gov. Scott Walker, according to a statement from the
governor’s office. Eric Schutt, currently Walker’s deputy chief of staff, will
be appointed the new Chief of Staff Oct. 8, according to the statement.
Following his departure from the chief of staff position,
Gilkes will return to his previous work in the private sector, rejoining his
business The Champion Group LLC in its daily operations, the statement said.
Soon after this recent departure from the executive office,
Gilkes became a lead advisor for Walker’s campaign committee, according to a
statement from the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Prior to his Chief of Staff
position, the statement said, Gilkes was the campaign manager for Walker during
the 2009-10 gubernatorial race.
University of Wisconsin political science professor Charles
Franklin said Gilkes’ departure appears to signify a sign from the governor’s
office that they are preparing for the possibility of a gubernatorial recall election.
is interesting that they seem to be taking the prospect of a recall seriously,”
Franklin said. “It is certainly a possibility but this seems to be a concrete
acknowledgement of that.”
focused members of government often leave in the year before an election, he
said, and Gilkes is expected to be working on several additional republican
campaigns as well.
said the Democratic party in the state has made it clear they would support the
recall efforts of petitioners in the state, but it’s questionable whether the
party has the resources for an all out attempt at the governor’s office given
the other elections in 2012.
viable democratic candidate willing to go up against Walker has also been an
overhanging dilemma for the party.
is a big question,” Franklin said. “It isn’t clear who might be interested in
challenging Gov. Walker.”