Iowa Republican cancel traditional straw poll event (copy)

Gov. Scott Walker is "testing the waters" for a presidential run.

Associated Press

Gov. Scott Walker kind of, sort of, maybe thinks he might run for president.

But he's just not sure yet. So he's asking donors for some guidance.

In fundraising emails sent Friday, Walker told supporters he's still praying over whether or not he should enter the presidential race. But while he's waiting to feel called to run, he's also looking for a signal of support from financial backers.

The donation page on Walker's website, launched in conjunction with his new "testing the waters" committee, asks would-be donors to show Walker "he has the support to run for President of the United States."

The website suggests donations from $10 to $2,700, the maximum an individual can contribute in the primary election.

In an email, Walker told supporters he has been "praying about this decision for a long time." 

The governor has said since shortly after his 2014 re-election that a person should only run for president if he or she feels "called" to do so. When his January inaugural ball was interrupted by an attendee who shouted, "2016!," he demurred.

"We'll party for tonight," the governor then said. "We'll see about what God's calling is for the future."

After launching his "testing the waters" committee, Walker published a guest post on the conservative site RedState: "Why I'm Considering Running for President."

"In state after state, the message we are hearing from people is simple: America needs a new leader – from outside of Washington – with a record of not just talking about conservative principles, but fighting for them and winning with them," Walker wrote. "I have heard these voices loud and clear. That’s why I am launching a testing the waters committee to gauge support for a presidential run. This will be the final step before I decide whether I become a candidate for our nation’s highest office, and I urge you to sign up at so you can be among the first to know when I have made this important decision."

When pushed to give a timeline for his announcement, Walker has said for months that he won't announce a decision about his intentions until after Wisconsin's budget is completed. 

"We won't do anything, we won't make any public pronouncement one way or the other, until after the budget is signed," Walker told reporters on May 7, the Associated Press reported.

But Republican infighting and delays on the budget committee's work, along with recent comments made by Walker, call into question what "the end of the budget" now means to the governor.

The Joint Finance Committee, which had hoped to finish its work before Memorial Day, hasn’t met since May 29. The new fiscal year begins July 1, but lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement on transportation funding and public funding for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena. 

As Madison as it gets: Get Cap Times' highlights sent daily to your inbox

Walker was in the Capitol on Thursday, before heading to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia this weekend. He tweeted Thursday night that he's "optimistic that we can get a budget deal within the next week or two."

It's rumored that Walker will announce his candidacy in the Milwaukee area on July 13. What's not clear is whether the budget will have reached his desk by then. 

But in Ripon on Thursday night, Walker's comments to reporters took a turn from his previous promises of no action until after the budget is done.

"For us, my goal has always been to get through the end of the budget year which ends June 30th. We'll see after that. Sometime in July is a pretty good time," he said.

A spokeswoman for Walker's new committee did not immediately respond to questions on Friday about which budget metric Walker plans to use to announce his decision.

"As the governor has said, he is optimistic an agreement will be reached in the coming weeks," said AshLee Strong, a Walker spokeswoman. "When we have a public announcement, we will let you know."

Once Walker decides to run and raises $5,000 for his new committee, he must file his statement of candidacy within 15 days with the Federal Election Commission.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.