April 9, 2013, 6:41 p.m.; Corrected April 10, 2013 7:41 a.m.
CQ Roll Call File Photos
From left, Priebus, Walker and Ryan are likely to shape the future of the Republican Party. The three men have become close in recent years and often trade political advice.
For now, the governor is focused on his re-election bid, and any immediate ambition for higher office is unlikely to crystallize until after Election Day 2014. For Ryan, knowledgeable GOP sources confirm that the congressman’s long view of his political career and what it might be was altered by the experience of running for vice president, as was his wife’s opinion. In other words, they enjoyed it and would consider doing it again.
Republicans liken this situation to the two Florida Republicans considered to be top-tier presidential candidates: former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. Only one of them can run in 2016, and although few believe Rubio would specifically defer to Bush, the two Floridians have been close for years and the expectation is that the senator, who is a generation younger, would put his ambition on hold if the ex-governor wanted to run.
“Gov. Walker is very supportive of Paul Ryan and will be deferential to a point to see what Paul decides,” said a GOP operative with Wisconsin ties. “Many believe that he wants to go in 2016, but he’s pragmatic enough to know that he can’t get out ahead of Paul Ryan.”
Ryan, Walker and Priebus are close friends and regular confidants, but 2016 presidential race could test relationships
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Scott Walker's age.