A man with a long, strong history in the Republican Party and ties to Janesville says he is exploring the possibility of running for governor.

Bill McCoshen is known to many Janesvillians as the founder and co-owner of the Janesville Jets hockey team.

“We’ll see,” McCoshen said in a text message Wednesday, responding to a Gazette question about his intentions in the 2022 governor’s race. “There are a couple more steps in the exploratory process. I won’t make a final decision until June.”

In addition to his work with the North American Hockey League, McCoshen is a longtime Republican strategist who served as campaign manager, aide and commerce secretary for former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

McCoshen owns Capitol Consultants of Madison, a political consulting and lobbying firm.

McCoshen most recently launched a trial balloon that would benefit the Jets, suggesting, through the Friends of the Indoor Sports Complex, that the city of Janesville dedicate some of its federal COVID-19 relief funding to the sports complex project.

The group had previously proposed a sports complex with two ice sheets be built at Uptown Janesville.

Ballotpedia, “the encyclopedia of American politics,” in 2015 named McCoshen a “top influencer” in Wisconsin. Top influencers are “power players who help get candidates elected, put through policy proposals, cause ideological changes and affect popular perceptions.”

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is fundraising and is expected to run for governor in 2022.

Reince Priebus of Kenosha, who served as chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, is said to be exploring a run, as well.

Kevin Nicholson, a 2018 Republican U.S. Senate candidate, is reportedly deciding whether to run for governor or Senate.

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