The Ted Cruz campaign helped Trump win the crucial New Hampshire primary, an on the record discussion between key political operatives Thursday revealed.
Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, warned the Trump campaign ahead of the New Hampshire primary that support for him was dropping in their internal polls, giving Trump a chance to recalibrate his strategy in the key primary state. He went on to win New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, essentially locking up the Republican nomination.
Corey Lewandowski, then Trump’s campaign manager, recalled the phone call at an election post-mortem hosted by Harvard University, reports the Los Angeles Times. Roe called him following Trump’s loss in the Iowa caucuses to tell him internal Cruz polling showed Trump was losing support in New Hampshire, because he spent too much time attacking other candidates.
The Trump campaign was not conducting internal polls of its own at the time, Lewandowski said, so the phone call provided crucial insight going into the New Hampshire primary, allowing them to adjust their strategy. A loss in New Hampshire could have proved a death blow to the Trump campaign.
Roe confirmed Lewandowski’s account, saying at that point in the campaign the Cruz campaign “needed Trump” to defeat the other Republican candidates.
The account was part of a larger discussion of the failure of other Republican candidates to take Trump down in the primaries, perhaps because they didn’t take him seriously enough. The post-mortem was atypically hostile, with Trump aides basking in their win and accusing the Clinton camp of being sore losers, while Clinton aides decried an election they said was won because of a resurgence of white supremacy.
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