Trump’s team is moving to address some of the issues that arose during his disorganized, if ultimately successful, 2016 campaign, when his then-main rival, Ted Cruz, looked like he might outmaneuver him for delegates. Trump eventually hired Paul Manafort to oversee the efforts of his delegates, but he still faced a messy convention in which he was forced to overcome opposition from delegates who launched a failed effort to stop the nomination. of the.
The insider-driven process that decides who is selected as convention delegate in each state will unfold next year, with the spots typically given to party officials and others who have been involved in Republican activity.
This time around, Trump is pushing hard to reach out to potential convention delegates, seeking to capitalize on his early lead in the 2024 race to advance against rivals just starting out with their organizing efforts.
In Iowa, Trump has placed full-page ads in GOP publications for the past two years, and last year gave state GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann, a longtime Trump ally, space to speak at a rally he held in the state. Kaufmann’s son, state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, was recently named a Trump campaign adviser.
In New Hampshire, Trump recently ran before the state Republican Party, hiring former state party chairman Stephen Stepanek as a senior adviser.
And last year in South Carolina, Trump sponsored a breakfast and spoke remotely with the executive committee of the South Carolina Republican Party. In 2021, Trump endorsed Drew McKissick for his successful GOP run for state president and later featured McKissick as a speaker at a rally he hosted in Florence, South Carolina (Trump, however, endorsed another candidate over McKissick, the eventual winner, in this year’s RNC co). -chair race.)
The dinner on Thursday was attended by Trump advisers Susie Wiles, Brian Jack, Alex Latcham and Jason Miller. Jack, who helped lead Trump’s convention efforts in 2016 and who also served as top political adviser to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, has been overseeing outreach to state parties.
The Nevada delegation included state party chairman Mike McDonald, a longtime ally of the former president, and Republican National Committee member Jim DeGraffenreid. Before dining with Trump, state party leaders received briefings from Trump aides on the 2024 campaign.
Trump did not specify at dinner when he would campaign in Nevada, where he owns a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. But the former president made it clear that he would travel there in the coming months. He made stops this year in two other early voting states, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and is scheduled to campaign in Iowa on March 13.
Other candidates have also been ramping up their early state campaigns. Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley has spent time in several battleground states since she launched her campaign last month.
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will appear in Iowa on March 10, his first stop in the state, which traditionally hosts the party’s first nominating contest. DeSantis has another event scheduled in Las Vegas the next day.