Mar-a-Lago Machine: Trump as a modern-day party leader

Michele Fiore, a Las Vegas city councilwoman, announced her candidacy for governor of Nevada with a pro-Trump theatrical ad who raced in West Palm Beach. She later moved on to run for state treasurer, saying in another ad that the Trump team had advised him to look down.

And in March, a group urging Mr. Trump to rescind his endorsement of Matthew DePerno, a Republican candidate for Michigan attorney general, bought an ad attacking Mr. DePerno that was running in West Palm Beach.

Others have used video with even more precision.

In November, Blake Masters, a Senate candidate in Arizona, released a public video saying, “I think Trump won in 2020.” the day before his flight to Florida for a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser, which records show cost his campaign $29,798.70.

Some catch Mr. Trump’s attention on TV between ads.

Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin of Idaho appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last June and sang Mr Trump’s praises. The next day he called her.

“It was the coolest thing,” she said, adding that she “slipped it in” that she was planning to challenge Gov. Brad Little, the incumbent Republican, and asked for Ms. Trump. Soon she was on a plane to New York for a meeting at Trump Tower. “The thing I wanted to do is give him a big hug and tell him how much we love him,” she said. “And that’s the first thing we did.”

Ms McGeachin said she told Mr Trump that Mr Little had not fought hard enough to overturn the 2020 election. In the fall, she pleaded her case at Mar-a-Lago, and walked away with a signed red cap she wears on the stump. Soon Mr Trump officially endorsed it – although he had nothing but praise for Mr Little, who had attended a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser for a Trump-aligned nonprofit a few days earlier.

Ms McGeachin, who recently caused a stir by recording a speech for a white nationalist rally, is widely seen as an underdog in the May primary.

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