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Rick Wiley (copy) (copy)

Rick Wiley, manager of Gov. Scott Walker's presidential campaign, recently spoke at a luncheon.


While anonymous chatter has placed Scott Walker's campaign manager's head squarely on the chopping block, Rick Wiley himself says the rumors aren't true.

"I'm not going anywhere," Wiley told the Cap Times on Thursday. "The vicious rumor cycle has begun. Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated."

Wiley's name was floated as the fall guy for the Wisconsin governor's shaky debate performance and tanking poll numbers in a Washington Post article published Thursday morning. And several anonymous sources suggested as much to the Cap Times, though none directly connected with the campaign. 

"There is a substantial amount of chatter that he needs to go," an anonymous Walker fundraiser told the Washington Post.

Donors told the Post there are fears Wiley "expanded the staff too quickly and has failed to calibrate spending during the summer fundraising season."

"Post IDs Rick Wiley as likely fall guy for Walker's ineffectual campaign," New York Times reporter Alex Burns tweeted in response to the article.

Supporters told the Post that longtime Walker adviser Keith Gilkes, who currently heads the pro-Walker Unintimidated PAC, could be brought on board to take over Wiley's role.

Wiley, a former Republican National Committee political director, has worked on several presidential campaigns. He started advising Walker about his then-potential presidential bid late last year.

According to the Post article, donors have been scrambling for weeks trying to come up with a game plan for Walker to breathe new life into his floundering campaign.

But Wiley continues to carry on his campaign manager duties, tweeting articles noting the lack of questions given to Walker in Wednesday's GOP debate and promoting debate coverage that's been favorable to the governor.

And Wiley was the one to deliver the campaign's official post-debate statement.

"Gov. Walker wore his Harley boots tonight, and it showed ... He put Donald Trump in his place early on, and the billionaire never recovered," Wiley said after the debate. "Even when he wasn’t speaking, Walker’s ideas — terminating the Obama-Clinton Iran deal and canceling China’s state visit — dominated the discussion. Whether highlighting the successful, conservative reforms he’s implemented as governor or his plans to repeal Obamacare, create jobs and keep America safe as president, Walker’s message was clear: He will fight and win for the American people and he is ready to do it on day one."

Walker, when faced with questions about his nosedive in the polls, has noted that former president Ronald Reagan also bounced back from polling dips.

In the days leading up to the debate, Walker's national poll numbers had plummeted to 3 percent, from double digits last month.

"Ronald Reagan wasn’t just a conservative Republican, he was an eternal optimist in the American people," Walker said. "And I am, too."

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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.

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