Keith Gilkes, Scott Walker's Chief Of Staff, Resigns

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's chief of staff, Keith Gilkes, is resigning from his post, the Associated Press reports.

Gilkes will officially step down on October 8 and will be replaced by Eric Schutt, who currently serves as the Republican governor's deputy chief of staff.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Gilkes will run Walker's campaign as the governor faces a mounting recall effort in the Badger State.

Gilkes disclosed his plans to top Walker aides during a cabinet meeting Friday at a Madison hotel. In an interview, he said he would serve as lead adviser to Walker's campaign, but also take on other clients for campaign work. He said he would not go into lobbying.

"As we see activity on the Democrats' part, on the public-sector employees' part, talking about running campaigns against the governor, we want to ensure our message is being heard," explained Gilkes to the AP. "We want to make sure we're prepared for anything they may attempt against the governor whether now, a year from now or three years from now."

Reuters reports:

The fight over that anti-union measure thrust Wisconsin into the national spotlight, igniting massive pro-union protests and political fights that led to a record nine recall elections this summer.

Democrats and union leaders have vowed to force Walker to defend himself in a recall vote sometime next year.

News of the staff shake-up comes amid an ongoing investigation involving members of Walker's office. According to the AP, Gilkes signaled his decision to step down has nothing to do with the probe.

"Keith did an outstanding job helping to craft and implement our ambitious pro-jobs agenda," said Walker in addressing the departure. "I would like to thank him for his dedication to public service, and acknowledge the tremendous amount of time and energy he spent working to help improve state government."