Keith Gilkes ran Walker’s campaign last year, helped lead his transition and has served as chief of staff since Walker’s January swearing in. Gilkes will return to his political consulting firm on Oct. 8.
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.
His departure comes at a time of strain for the administration, with Democrats poised to try to recall the governor next year and a widening John Doe investigation of current and former Walker aides.
That investigation intensified Sept. 14 when FBI agents and other law enforcement officers raided the home of Cindy Archer, who until recently was Walker’s deputy administration secretary and had been a top aide to Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive. Archer abruptly quit as deputy administration secretary and moved into a job as legislative liaison at the state Department of Children and Families three weeks before the raid, but she has not yet reported for that job because she has been on paid sick leave.
Gilkes said his departure was not related to the investigation.