Trump acquired concerned again when it appeared like his Massachusetts nemesis, the favored GOP Gov. Charlie Baker, was going to run for a 3rd time period. However Baker, who doesn’t have an inheritor obvious, has stayed out.
As a substitute, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, one of many few average New England Republicans left standing, crossed the border to fundraise for Doughty this week. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Trump ally who’s again being advised by Lewandowski after a quick break up, is expected to stump for Diehl in Boston subsequent week.
“That is about the way forward for the Republican Celebration as a lot as the rest,” Patrick Griffin, a Republican marketing consultant who’s suggested presidential campaigns and Sununu’s 2016 gubernatorial run, mentioned in an interview.
“Kristi Noem’s acquired plans. Chris Sununu’s acquired plans,” he mentioned. “That is all about standing up for the place the social gathering’s going and attempting to direct it in a manner or lead it in a manner the place we are able to win extra elections, not much less.”
However that is as a lot a battle for the way forward for the Republican Celebration as it’s one for consideration heading into 2024.
Whereas Sununu will get loads of play in his residence state, fly-in politicians can get publicity in New Hampshire simply by exhibiting up in Massachusetts. The state is a media and cash gateway to the first-in-the-nation major state, providing would-be presidential hopefuls the prospect to get on tv screens in voter-rich southern New Hampshire and join with deep-pocketed Massachusetts donors with out the direct scrutiny that comes with stepping foot within the Granite State.
“There’s no sense in investing in misplaced causes,” mentioned Colin Reed, who managed former Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown’s New Hampshire U.S. Senate marketing campaign and labored on the 2008 presidential campaigns of Romney and John McCain. “But when you should use it to make a mark or enhance your personal title ID in a essential a part of the nation, as they are saying: there’s no curiosity like self curiosity.”
Massachusetts presents a political conundrum for Republicans: Its voters handed Trump a few of his greatest losses in each of his presidential bids. But the identical Democrats and independents that resoundingly rejected Trump have repeatedly despatched fiscally conservative and socially average Republicans like Baker and Invoice Weld to the governor’s workplace for the higher a part of 30 years.
The state GOP appears to be carried out with that, and has turn into more and more pro-Trump below conservative Chair Jim Lyons. Polls confirmed Diehl might have overwhelmed Baker, who’s extra standard with Democrats and independents than amongst members of his personal social gathering, in a Republican major.
After initially veering away from Trump, Diehl largely embraced the previous president and his rhetoric, going as far as to falsely claim the 2020 election was “rigged.” Diehl went on to win the social gathering’s endorsement for governor at its spring conference — the place Thomas Homan, Trump’s former border czar, was a featured speaker — by an amazing 71 %. And he leads Doughty by comfortable margins within the few Republican major polls obtainable.
Republicans make up lower than 10 % of registered voters in Massachusetts. And Trumpism has confirmed a tough promote to independents, who make up 57 % of the state’s voters, and Democrats, who comprise 32 %.
Diehl promotes “an excessive conservatism” that “simply isn’t going to attach with impartial voters,” Sununu advised reporters after fundraising with Doughty at a lodge in Peabody Wednesday evening. “I don’t assume voters are going to imagine that he can actually work throughout the aisle within the efficient manner that it’s good to with the Democrats [that control] the Legislature.”
Sununu and his staff insist that his help for Doughty has nothing to do with the truth that Trump, with whom the New Hampshire governor has a sophisticated relationship, endorsed Diehl. Or that Lewandowski, who called for Sununu’s ouster, is advising Diehl’s marketing campaign.
Trump’s endorsement, Sununu contends, “doesn’t actually matter to voters.”
Wendy Wakeman, a Republican strategist in Massachusetts who’s engaged on a GOP-led poll initiative and is impartial within the major, disagrees.
“Trump’s endorsement issues to Republican major voters,” she mentioned in an interview. “These are the people who each Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty have to be involved with in August.”
Within the conflict over whether or not Trumpism ought to be the Republican Celebration’s previous or its future, Sununu represents the previous and Noem the latter.
The South Dakota governor — who, like Sununu, is up for reelection this yr — hasn’t ruled out a 2024 presidential bid if Trump doesn’t run. And if he’s in, she’s thought-about a possible vice presidential choose.
It was Lewandowski, Trump’s longtime adviser, who related Diehl and Noem for subsequent week’s fundraiser and marketing campaign occasions, Diehl’s marketing campaign supervisor, Amanda Orlando, mentioned.
Noem, in an announcement, referred to as Diehl an “thrilling candidate who affords a singular mix of conserative credentials, credible legislative expertise and sensible work within the non-public sector.”
Diehl in flip praised Noem’s dealing with of the pandemic, calling the governor who resisted lockdowns and rebuffed masks and vaccine mandates “one of many few leaders in our nation to maintain her folks protected and maintain her state open for enterprise.”
For all of the big-name help they’re attracting, each Republicans vying for governor would face an uphill battle towards Healey, who leads each males by more than 30 points in polls of hypothetical general-election matchups.
Sununu continues to be holding out hope.
“This isn’t a state that’s afraid to elect a Republican governor,” Sununu mentioned. “But it surely must be the fitting Republican governor.”