- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 20, 2013

High-profile Republicans already engaged in presidential politics — more than three years before the 2016 election — are hurting the party and the nation, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday.

Mr. Walker, who appeared on “Fox & Friends,” specifically was referring to the public spat between Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both of whom are expected to run for president and already have begun to engage in a de facto primary election fight with each other.

But by focusing too much on the 2016 cycle, the GOP could blow its chances in next year’s midterms, according to Mr. Walker.

“I think it’s too early. I think it’s a disservice to the party and the country,” he said. “We’ve got 36 races for governor next year. Twenty-two of them, including me, are [incumbent] Republican governors. You’ve got the U.S. Senate, where we’ve got a very real chance to get the majority. Keep the House, which has been doing a good job; get the Senate back. Then whomever the nominee is in 2016 has a real opportunity — he or she on the Republican side can ultimately come in and say, ‘We can turn America around.’”

Mr. Walker pointed to the fact that Republicans have captured governorships and legislatures in many states carried by President Obama in 2012, such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and others. That success, he said, can be built upon in 2014.

The Republican majority in the U.S. House also can be expanded, Mr. Walker said, and the U.S. Senate brought back under GOP control — both of which would make a Republican president much more effective beginning in January 2017.

“Focus on 2014,” Mr. Walker said.

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