“The way I divide it is that you have a super-MAGA Trump next door to Trump and not so much Trump,” said Christopher Nicholas, a longtime Pennsylvania-based Republican consultant on the likely GOP Senate field. “Obviously, all former recruits would participate in the super-MAGA-Trump. I think Jeff Bartos would be next door to Trump. A [former Rep.] The figure of Ryan Costello or he himself, if he enters, will be in the less particularly Trump part. “
Bartos, a real estate developer and top-ranking contender who has officially declared his candidacy, has been selected by his allies as a Republican in the middle of the road who can win the suburbs of the Philadelphia counties where he lives.
Yet at the same time, Bartos donated and helped raise money for GOP survey observers in Philadelphia Congress Center in 2020, when the ballots are counted. And he traveled to Mar-a-Lago, Trump̵
“Donald Trump was someone who listened to millions of Pennsylvania who felt like no one was fighting for them,” Bartos said in an ad showing he was driving around the state. “And we can’t go back to the days when elected officials in Washington considered Pennsylvania to be just two cities and a lot of farmland in between.”
Together with Bartos Sean Parnell, a former congressional candidate who spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2020 and is close to Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., he spoke with state party leaders about the candidacy. Mike Kelly and Guy Reshentaller, two members of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce who were loyal to Trump, are possible contenders. Also considering: Kenneth Braithwaite, who was secretary of the Trump Navy; Carla Sands, Trump’s ambassador to Denmark; and John Giordano, a member of Trump’s delegation to the UN General Assembly in 2019.
Former spokesman Ryan Costello, a vocal critic of Trump, has also expressed interest in campaigning. Both Congressional candidate Katie Bannett and lawyer Sean Gale threw their hats in the ring. A news release announcing Gail’s candidacy said that “the only way to win” is with a candidate who is pro-Trump.
“President Trump is still very popular with Republicans,” said former GOP spokesman Lou Balletta, Trump’s best ally in the state. “There is no denying that the Republican Party in Pennsylvania is still Trump’s party.”
Earlier this year, Steve Bannon, a former chief strategist at Trump’s White House, told POLITICO that “any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be a full Trump MAGA.”
Potential and declared candidates in the Senate are discussing with local party leaders that they are best prepared to win Trump’s approval.
With so many boastful ties to the former president and his administration, many hope to win his imprimatur. For example, Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter in February: “My friend @SeanParnellUSA is a strong conservative at America First and has my support for every office he decides to run for in 2022 !!!”
“When you talk to these people, everyone thinks they will get the support of the former president,” said Sam De Marco, chairman of the Republican Party in Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania. “All these people believe, because there is a connection there, they could possibly get his approval.”
A similar Trump-oriented dynamic is developing in the gubernatorial race in 2020. Barletta is considering running for governor and said she would make a decision in the next few weeks. A recent survey by Susquehanna Polling & Research, a firm whose clients included conservative groups, found that Barletta had an early lead in the primary.
William Maxwayne, a former U.S. lawyer under Trump, has taken steps to run for governor. State Senator Doug Mastriano, who visited Trump in the White House after the 2020 election and helped hold a hearing in an unjustified election, is another likely contender.
And at least one potential candidate for governor has visited Trump in Mar-a-Lago, said a political aide: Representative Dan Mauser.
Interim periods for Pennsylvania for 2018 also revolved around Trump. After Barletta became one of the first elected officials to support Trump in 2016, Trump returned the favor and backed Northeast Pennsylvania politicians at the start of the Senate championship, which he continued to win. Scott Wagner, then a state senator who boasted in 2016 that he would buy 20,000 tokens for Trump, seized the nomination for governor that same year.
Both candidates were defeated in the general election by double-digit numbers, prompting some Republican votes to support a larger tent approach. But this has not yet happened. Instead, many GOP activists have called for more tests of loyalty to Trump: Earlier this year, several Pennsylvania county parties condemned Republican Sen. Pat Tomy for voting to impeach Trump after the Capitol uprising.
Amid calls among some Republicans to avoid a split before the 2021 local elections and next year’s midterm elections, the state Republican Party refused to condemn Toomi and instead voted for him.
Some party officials say that with President Joe Biden in the White House, Republicans are quickly putting aside their differences and will be united for the 2022 championship, regardless of which candidate holds the nomination and how closely they are associated with Trump.
“The media wants this to be the essence of the campaign. I think the campaign will be much more than that, “said Charlie Garrow, a GOP strategist in Pennsylvania. “The main campaign will be related to individual candidates and their individual views on the future of the country and their individual abilities.”
However, when he lists a number of issues that are likely to dominate the race – China, immigration, Biden’s spending – it becomes clear how much Trump still influences the party. And there is no doubt that the GOP contenders will be considered by party activists and operatives for how closely they link up with the former president.
Speaking of Bartos’ nod to Trump in his opening video, Nicholas said, “What I took from him is someone who said the minimum he had to say about 45 so people wouldn’t think, 45?” “
Bartos spokesman Conor McGuinness was quick to respond, saying he mentioned Trump on the spot, “because no one has ever fought harder for forgotten men and women in Pennsylvania than President Trump.”
“The only person who would produce this as a publication,” he added, “is a swamp consultant from DC.”