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Major Trump-inspired donors plan their own campaigns

Rabine is one of more than half a dozen wealthy Trump bosses preparing potential offers for a statewide post, a glut that underscores how the profile of Trump – a political outsider rich and tough – lives on candidates who are cut off from the same. fabric.

Rabine pointed out that there were distinctions between him and Trump, but he also pointed to their common focus on economics as a critical parallel.

“I think he knows how to create jobs and opportunities, and I know I know it too. It’s the most common thing, I think, and that’s why I embrace Trump as the leader of our country, ”he said.

In Ohio, investment banker Mike Gibbons assesses a run for the state’s newly-opened Senate seat or a main challenge against Governor Mike DeWine, one of the Republicans targeted by Trump following his loss electoral.

Gibbons, who ran an unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2018, donated more than half a million dollars to pro-Trump causes in the 2020 election. He single-handedly funded an outside group, Ohio Strong Action, which supported Trump and other Republican candidates.

Gibbons’ senior advisor, Andrew Boucher, described the potential candidate as a figure outside the system who “strongly believes that we need more businessmen involved in politics,” is “ready to be frank when he is time to be frank ”and“ do not owe anyone any favors.

Another Ohio-based Trump backer, State GOP President Jane Timken, confirmed in a text message that she is considering running for the Senate seat through the retired Republican Senator Rob Portman. Timken and her husband, former steel company executive Tim Timken, donated more than $ 235,000 to the Trump 2020 campaign.

Some of the would-be candidates are so closely aligned with Trump that they have embraced his baseless conspiracy theories that the election was rigged. Likely Nebraska governor candidate Charles Herbster, a breeder who donated more than $ 1.1 million to pro-Trump outfits during the 2020 campaign, attended the rally on January 6 which aimed to pressure members of Congress to overturn the election results.

Herbster said he did not attend the riot that followed on Capitol Hill and condemned the violence that occurred.

There’s also former Trump administration ambassador Carla Sands, a major donor to the former president who is weighing a campaign for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Days after the election, Sands took to Twitter to claims his vote was not counted, a statement that later turned out to be incorrect.

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, a six-figure donor to Trump’s political operation, has been the most outspoken of the bunch. Lindell confirmed his interest in a potential campaign against Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz – who he said was “likely shortlisted for the worst Governor of the Year award” – but said he was more focused on demonstration that voting machines had been manipulated in the Election 2020.

“If machines were in use tomorrow and I was going to run tomorrow, or if the elections were in two months, I would say, ‘Why bother?’ because these machines are going to steal it, ”Lindell said.

The string of Trump-like candidates has alarmed some Republicans, who argue that the party must move away from the former president to win in 2022. Michael Brodkorb, former vice president of the Minnesota Republican Party, argued that Lindell s ‘would do well among the Conservatives. activists but turn off the commuters who escaped Trump in the last election.

“I think it would be incredibly problematic for Republicans running in this state,” said Brodkorb, who noted that Republicans in Minnesota have not won a statewide race since 2006. ” I think the fact that he’s basically become a mini-Trump in that capacity, there’s no reason to think that this brand that was just recycled by the Minnesota electorate would work.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the last Republican to hold Minnesota’s senior post, said the GOP needs to expand beyond Trump’s base to win the state given the former president’s losses in 2016 and 2020.

“We don’t need to guess how a general election campaign will play out here for a candidate seen primarily as a Trump proxy,” Pawlenty wrote in an email. “Trump lost here twice, and it wasn’t even close the second time around.”

Some Trump patrons are thinking beyond 2022. Kelly Craft, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, is considering a 2023 run against Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and some people close to her expect that. ‘she ends up pulling the trigger. Craft and her husband, coal mogul Joe Craft, donated more than $ 1.2 million to pro-Trump outfits in the last election.

It remains to be seen whether Trump repays his donors with his support. So far, the only 2022 candidate the former president has approved is his former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is running for governor of Arkansas. Trump’s advisers say he has yet to focus on the midterm elections, which are just under two years away.

Despite all their stylistic similarities to Trump, the potential candidates do not cut exactly the same profile. Rabine, who is expected to launch his campaign next month, stressed that unlike Trump, he is neither a billionaire nor a real estate developer.

But he has at least one thing in common with the president.

“I am not a politician,” Rabine said. “This is not what I aspire to.”

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