Paul Steinhauser: George Pataki, Scott Walker are NH bound
CONCORD - Two Republicans seriously considering White House runs are headed to New Hampshire over the next two months.
NH1 confirmed Thursday that former New York Gov. George Pataki will visit the first-in-the-nation primary state next week, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker heading to the Granite State in March.
Walker will give the keynote speech at a New Hampshire GOP grassroots training and rally on March 14. The Wisconsin governor, who just began his second term in office, became a national hero to many conservatives thanks to his high profile 2011-2012 battle against state public sector unions over collective bargaining rights.
"We have enacted bold, successful reforms in Wisconsin and we have a great story to tell," Walker said in a statement. "I look forward to sharing our common sense conservative message with grassroots activists, and I thank the New Hampshire GOP for this exciting opportunity."
The grassroots training and rally will take place from 9:30 am until 12:30 pm at the New Hampshire Technical Institute. Last week, while attending the Republican National Committee's winter meeting in San Diego, Walker met NHGOP chair Jennifer Horn and RNC committee members Juliana Bergeron and Steve Duprey, as first reported by NH1.
Walker's March visit to New Hampshire will be his first in recent years. Saturday, Walker attends a conservative summit in Iowa, the state that kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar.
Pataki frequent Granite State visitor
Pataki was just in New Hampshire a week and half ago, but he's coming back next Tuesday and Wednesday. On his itinerary: headlining a Cheshire County GOP dinner and speaking with students at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown.
"I expect to be in New Hampshire quite a bit," Pataki told NH1. "One of the things I enjoy about New Hampshire is that it's retail politics. You sit across from people's tables and talk to them."
Pataki also announced Thursday that he'll serve as chairman and chief spokesman for a new super PAC called "We the People, Not Washington," which was first reported by the New York Times.
"I think it's a very important step" towards launching a campaign, Pataki told NH1.
Pataki said the super PAC will also provide him with the funds to travel to New Hampshire and other states as he seriously considers launching a campaign. By federal law, until he's a declared candidate, Pataki can coordinate with an outside group such as a super PAC.
"With federal campaign finance laws the way there are, at this point to become a formal candidate really doesn't make any sense. So the We the People super PAC gives me the opportunity to communicate with voters in New Hampshire and across the country to get the ideas and principals I believe in across."
Asked if he's concerned he'll be able to raise the money needed to run a campaign and grab the media spotlight needed to be successful when so many other bigger Republican names, such as Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are also seriously considering White House runs, Pataki said that "there are going to be a lot of very good candidates on the Republican side and that's good for the party and the country. But I believe in the message that I feel deeply, I believe in the vision that I have as to how we need to scale back the power, expanse, influence and control Washington has over too much of our lives. We need to not only reduce but reform the power of Washington."
Pataki added that he was a longshot when he first ran for New York governor in 1994, but that he outworked his opponents.
Pataki, who left office in early 2007, flirted with White House runs in 2008 and 2012.