Trump Aides Flood Senate And Gubernatorial Races As Consultants And Pollsters

Trump Aides Flood Senate And Gubernatorial Races As Consultants And Pollsters

- in Politics

(CNN)More than a dozen onetime aides and advisers to former President Donald Trump have signed on to assist Republicans competing in statewide and federal contests across the country, in some cases setting up potential showdowns in the months to come as they work to cast their candidates as the most Trump-aligned figures in crowded races.

Candidates have tapped everyone from former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio to Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, one of the most recognizable duos in Trump World. In Ohio alone, according to a CNN analysis, six former Trump aides are already working privately and publicly to assist Cleveland car dealer-turned-GOP candidate Bernie Moreno and to recruit “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance, who is still weighing a campaign, in the Republican primary for outgoing Sen. Rob Portman’s seat.

The slew of campaign hires from the 45th President’s orbit come as Republican candidates in House, Senate and gubernatorial races try to claim the Trump mantle. They want to set themselves apart in crowded primaries or ingratiate themselves with the party’s grassroots supporters, who remain overwhelmingly loyal to the former President. Or, in the case of Alaska Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, who has enlisted former Trump campaign aides Justin Clark, Bill Stepien, Nick Trainer, and Tim Murtaugh in her bid to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, they have taken an active role in the ex-President’s revenge-driven ploy to rid the Republican party of his critics.

    “There is great benefit to any Republican candidate to hire campaign advisers who are simply more in touch with the mood of base voters than other consultants these days,” said one former Trump official who has nabbed contracts with a Senate and gubernatorial candidate.

      Trump’s endorsement is not a guaranteed benefit, however. While the former President has publicly backed some candidates who are working with aides of his — such as Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who is running for an open Senate seat in his state — he has declined to wade into other primary contests or races where people in his orbit are involved.

        Trump’s influence spreads

        As the 2022 midterm map takes shape, at least seven Senate races have seen the direct or indirect involvement of former Trump staffers — aides from the White House or his 2016 and 2020 campaigns who are either already employed by campaigns or quietly advising prospective candidates to run.

          Some of these same Trump veterans have also joined gubernatorial campaigns in Virginia and Nebraska, where term-limited governors are retiring in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Line Drive Public Affairs, a consulting group run by former Trump campaign communications director Murtaugh, is assisting marketing executive Pete Snyder in Virginia’s GOP gubernatorial primary. Conway, Lewandowski and Bossie are advising Charles Herbster, a GOP mega-donor and Republican candidate for Nebraska governor. In New Jersey, where the June 8 GOP primary for governor is fast approaching, former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale is working for South Jersey businessman Hirsh Singh.

          “I don’t think there’s any consultant you can hire that is going to win the race for you, but I have a great team in Nebraska, and I wouldn’t undertake something like this that didn’t involve Corey, Kellyanne and Dave,” said Charles Herbster, a GOP mega-donor and Republican candidate for Nebraska governor.

          In the California effort to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the high-profile candidacy of former Olympic decathlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has also attracted talent from deep inside Trump’s cir

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