The White House and its allies want to make sure Republican state committees across the country are on board with President Donald Trump and his agenda going into the 2018 midterm elections and eventual 2020 reelection campaign.
No longer the outsider, Trump now controls the Republican National Committee and, according to Politico, his team is busy placing loyal Trump supporters in state committee posts where Trump skeptics once occupied.
The Trump campaign in 2016 was often criticized for having little infrastructure on the ground and having sour relations with particular state parties.
Trump criticized primary contests in states like Colorado, where he lost, or in states where he won the primary, like Arizona, but lost out on the number of pledged delegates. Such experiences led him to often say the system was “rigged” against him.
Presently, Trump activists in states all over the country are guided by the White House political office run by former Chris Christie aide Bill Stepien.
Although Steve House stepped away from his post as Colorado Republican chairman, House told Politico the Trump team is doing more outreach to his state than ever before.
“The one unusual thing that has happened since Election Day is the quantity and quality of outreach we’ve gotten in Colorado from the White House directly, from the political director[’s office] in the White House. Nobody ever recalls anything like this level of attention,” said House. “A lot of the conversation is getting ready for 2018 and 2020, and I get the distinct impression that the Trump administration realizes that while we didn’t get it done in Colorado in 2016, it’s important to lay the groundwork now.”
Team Trump also put its support behind other state Republican officials they deemed loyal to their cause. The state parties affected so far include key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ohio.
“Almost immediately, when President Trump was sworn in, we got immediate outreach from the political office. We’ve been down to the West Wing, but we’re a little bit of an unusual case because we’ve got a governor’s race and the president owns property in Virginia,” John Whitbeck, the GOP chairman in Virginia, told Politico. “A lot of what they’re doing in 2018 they’re testing in 2017.”
“It’s a very different relationship than Barack Obama with the DNC, hence the incredible fundraising numbers,” he added. Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff and former RNC chairman, “is not going to let the operation atrophy.”