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Walker stomps in Eau Claire today as he announces campaign for governor

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The campaign for Wisconsin governor begins today, more than 18 months before voters make their choice.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will make five appearances around the state, as he becomes the first of at least three major candidates.

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Former Racine area congressman Mark Neumann is expected to run against Walker in a Republican primary.

And most indications are that Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle will go for a third four-year term in 2010.

Walker, 41, has run Milwaukee County's government for seven years, and was in the state Assembly for nine years before that. Walker has said he'll focus on Doyle and his state budget, which Walker calls a "sell-out to liberal special interests, turning back the clock to the same kind of hopelessness Wisconsin had in the early '80s under Tony Earl."

Walker also said he'd be a champion of "limited government, economic growth and personal freedom."

Alec Loftus of the state's Democratic Party says Walker is overly negative and "lacking his own ideas and solutions."

Loftus said Doyle is working with the president to create jobs while Walker travels the state "launching attack after attack."

But Walker says Doyle has let businesses down, by changing the tax structure to make multi-state firms pay millions more, and not personally lobbying to keep 280 jobs that Louisiana's governor recruited when the parent of Thomas Industries said it was moving from Sheboygan.

Walker will announce his bid at stops in Green Bay, Wausau, Eau Claire, Wauwatosa and a farm near Ma

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