Wisconsin first lady Tonette Walker is a central figure in Gov. Scott Walker's political life, The Hill
"They view themselves as a team," Wisconsin Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman told the Hill. "She's one of two on the team."
In 2011-12, Walker was subject to a bitter electoral recall effort. "His campaigns have never been easy, and they've been through campaign after campaign after campaign. She's ready," said the Wisconsin-based GOP strategist Brandon Scholz.
Walker's bitter battle with labor unions in the state saw his wife and children become targets of his political opponents. Speaking to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Summit in January, Walker recalled the death threats he and his family received.
"Most of those death threats were directed at me, but some of the worst were directed at my family," he said. "I remember one of the ones that bothered me the most was someone literally sent me a threat that said they were going to gut my wife like a deer."
A Walker adviser told the Hill: "She was a prominent part of the recall election and all the elections, even giving speeches on her own, and being very vocal for her husband, particularly at a time when it would have been easier for her to be a shrinking violet."
The "unflappable" first lady, who is 11 years his senior, was a young widow when Walker proposed to her. The couple has two sons.
Tonette Walker grew up poor. Her first husband died after a prolonged battle with kidney disease the same year that she also lost her grandmother and only brother.
"These experiences were heartbreaking and exhausting and the repeated fractures in my world made me very cynical," she said in November. "But in a way, losing my brother and my husband prepared me for political life."
As an integral member of Walker's political circle, she is also a surrogate speaker for the 2016 presidential contender, being up to speed on where he stands on the issues. She regularly introduces the governor at campaign rallies, according to The Hill.
A Ronald Reagan aficionado
, Walker said, "Tonette jokes that I never forget our wedding anniversary because it is Reagan's birthday," according to Vox.
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