Walker. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker compared his “friend” Jeb Bush to several failed GOP presidential nominees Friday, suggesting the Republican establishment is supporting him in part because they owe favors to the Bush family.

"We had Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney. If it's just whoever's next up, that hasn't worked so well for the Republican Party in the past,” Walker told the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam C. Smith.

“Jeb's a good man. You're not going to hear me speak ill will of Jeb. He's a friend of mine. He called me two days before [announcing] his PAC, I think highly of him,” he added. “I just think voters are going to look at this and say, 'If we're running against Hillary Clinton, we'll need a name from the future — not a name from the past — to win.'"

Bush has been considered the early front-runner in the crowded 2016 GOP field, a clear establishment favorite bolstered by enormous financial support. But Walker has seen his star rise in recent months and is now considered among the top tier of contenders for the nomination.

Walker concedes that Bush’s fundraising numbers will be difficult to match.

“Yeah, he'll have by far the biggest report. There's a lot of people who are loyal to that family because of an ambassadorship or an appointment or something like that, so those people are going to show up big on his first report,” Walker said. “What we're hoping going forward are not donors of obligation but donors of passion, people who are passionate about the reforms we bring to the table."

This isn’t the first time Walker has thrown subtle shade at Bush. In February, many saw a comment by Walker during a speech in Nashville as an indirect reference to Bush’s famous father and brother, both former presidents.

“I realize, unlike some out there, I didn’t inherit fame or fortune from my family. I got a bunch of things that are a whole lot better than that,” Walker said. “I got from my parents and my grandparents the belief that if you work hard and you play by the rules, here in America you can do and be anything you want.”