Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Thursday he will not run to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan in their native state of Wisconsin — but he declined to rule out running for public office in the future.
The former White House official and Republican National Committee chairman — who was born in New Jersey but grew up in Ryan’s congressional district in Wisconsin — told WISN talk show host Jay Weber that he’s “always interested in serving but the timing for me couldn’t be worse.”
Priebus said it was “great” to rejoin his former law firm, the Wisconsin-based Michael Best and Friedrich LLP, and that he was in no rush to reenter public life.
“Being a little separated from the daily political grind has been unbelievable so the answer is no,” Priebus told Weber when asked about running to replace Ryan, who announced he will not seek re-election in Congress on Wednesday.
“Look I’m always interested in serving but the timing for me couldn’t be worse,” he added.
The former chief of staff to President Donald Trump said that while “you never really lose that desire” to serve the public in some capacity, he was enjoying spending more time with his family and establishing a career in the private sector.
Trump announced last July that Priebus would be replaced by then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as chief of staff. The move gave the former RNC chairman the distinction of being the shortest-serving non-interim White House chief of staff in U.S. history.
But Priebus, who lost a bid for a Wisconsin state Senate seat in 2004, left the door open to running for public office down the line.
“Maybe one day,” he said when asked about the possibility.
“I think now I’ve got to concentrate on my career, building a retirement,” Priebus added. “One day when I think I take care of that side of my life perhaps I would love to be back involved.”
The former White House official expressed confidence though that whomever ran to replace Ryan for the GOP in Wisconsin would ultimately succeed.
“The reality is that there’s a lot of great candidates there,” Priebus said. “We’ll let someone else deal with it but they’re going to be successful and I’m happy to help them out.”