Walker announces senior presidential campaign team

AP News
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Posted: Jul 24, 2015 2:28 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker announced the leaders of his presidential campaign team on Friday, a mixture of longtime, close advisers from Wisconsin, employees of the Republican National Committee and veterans of previous national races.

Walker's naming of the nearly two-dozen top appointments comes nearly two weeks after he officially launched his 2016 bid.

Michael Grebe, a Walker confidante since the 1990s and president of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, will serve as campaign chairman. Rick Wiley, a former political director for the Republican National Committee, is Walker's campaign manager.

Grebe had said earlier this month that he would serve as campaign chairman, a largely ceremonial position he also held in Walker's first campaign for governor in 2010. Wiley, who had also previously worked on former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign, has been serving as Walker's top adviser since January.

Ed Goeas, president of the Alexandria, Virginia-based Tarrance Group who has done polling for Walker for years, will be a senior adviser. Brian Tringali, also of the Tarrance Group, will be an adviser and senior vice president B.J. Martino will oversee polling.

Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts and Wisconsin real estate developer Jon Hammes are heading up national fundraising efforts for Walker.

Walker's policy director Andrew Bremberg, who previously worked for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. His national political director is Matt Mason, who was field director at the RNC in the 2014 election cycle.

Other members of the leadership team include:

— Kirsten Kukowski, who formerly worked for the RNC, will head Walker's communications team with AshLee Strong as press secretary. Strong had worked as press secretary for U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

— Advisers Diana Banister, Gary Marx and Gregg Keller. Banister is vice president and partner of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, which is based outside of Washington, D.C. Marx is co-founder of the Washington-based Madison Strategies and a former adviser to the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2008 and George W. Bush in 2004. Keller, the founder of St. Louis-based Atlas Strategy Group, also worked for Romney in 2008 and is a former executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the social conservative group founded by Ralph Reed.

— Heather Smith, who worked on Walker's 2014 re-election campaign and is a 20-year veteran of Wisconsin politics, will be his research director.