Kellyanne Conway takes sides in Ohio Senate primary
Kellyanne Conway, who served as campaign manager and counselor to former President Donald Trump, has been named a senior adviser to Ohio Senate hopeful Bernie Moreno, taking sides in a race that has become a fight over which GOP candidate is closest to the former president. Conway, who managed Trump’s successful 2016 presidential bid, is part of a broader campaign organization that Moreno announced Thursday. In a statement, she called Moreno “a conservative, a political outsider, and a successful businessman just like President Donald J. Trump.”
Moreno is running in a crowded Republican primary in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. The leading contenders, including former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and former state party chairwoman Jane Timken, have been aggressively attaching themselves to Trump. During a private sit down with the president at his South Florida golf club last month, the candidates auditioned for the ex-president in a “Hunger Games”-like showdown.
Trump has not endorsed a candidate in the contest, which many senior Republicans describe as the most wide-open Republican Senate primary in the country. Conway stressed that her involvement for Moreno did not indicate that Trump would be endorsing him.
“My conversations with President Trump are private. I would never dangle or promise President Trump’s endorsement to any candidate. That is his alone to grant or withhold,” she said.
Conway and Moreno attended functions last week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Conway addressed contributors and met privately with Trump several times during her visit, according to sources. Moreno, meanwhile, attended a conference hosted by the Conservative Partnership Institute, an organization overseen by Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.
Conway had a long career in political consulting prior to managing Trump’s campaign, serving as a pollster for Republican candidates up-and-down the ballot. Conway, who has been writing a book, is expected to engage in relatively few races this election cycle.
Moreno, a technology executive and luxury car dealer who donated to the former president’s reelection effort, recently launched his campaign with a video stressing the need to “protect Trump’s victories.”
He has highlighted his support from several Trump administration officials, including former acting director of national intelligence Ric Grenell and former U.S. ambassadors Jamie McCourt and Ed McMullen.
Moreno’s campaign also announced that it had brought on Jamestown Associates, a media firm that worked on Trump’s presidential campaign.
Others on Moreno’s campaign team include veteran consultants Chris Hansen, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director, and Chip Englander. Emily Moreno, who is the candidate’s daughter and worked on Trump’s reelection campaign, is also a senior adviser. Parker Briden, a former aide to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, will be campaign manager.
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