May 21, 2019/Press

Politico: Trump campaign and Senate GOP clash over president’s pollster

Raleigh – Washington Republicans, afraid of a “a pricey and distracting intraparty fight,” today forced a top advisor for President Trump to cut ties with conservative challenger Garland Tucker, “an arrangement that sparked tensions at the highest levels of the Republican Party.” Already, Washington Republicans are worried about conservative outsider Garland Tucker and what they see is a “disruptive primary” that “could wreak havoc on the party’s prospects in the battleground state and ultimately hurt Republicans up-and-down the ballot, including Trump.” With Vice President Pence in state tomorrow to “rescue” Senator Tillis and Washington Republicans openly attacking Tucker, it’s clear this is shaping up to be a costly and bruising fight for “one of the most endangered senators up for reelection” that could “further complicate his prospects.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Politico: Trump campaign and Senate GOP clash over president’s pollster
By Alex Isenstadt
May 21, 2019

Key Points:

  • A top strategist on President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has withdrawn from an effort to unseat North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in 2020 — an arrangement that sparked tensions at the highest levels of the Republican Party.
  • Pollster John McLaughlin’s work for a Tillis primary challenger had angered leading Senate Republican campaign officials, who said the president’s team should be unified in the effort to reelect both Trump and incumbent Republican senators.
  • The Senate Republican officials argued that a disruptive primary could wreak havoc on the party’s prospects in the battleground state and ultimately hurt Republicans up-and-down the ballot, including Trump.
  • The run-in was the first major rift this year between the Trump campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, threatening to drive a wedge between the two organizations at a time of unease about the party’s prospects.
  • But in some corners of the party, the North Carolina episode has reignited long-held concerns that the Trump political machine at times operates on its own with little regard for other Republicans. The first-term Tillis is one of the most endangered senators up for reelection, and senior Republicans worry that the primary challenge could further complicate his prospects.
  • Spokespersons for the Trump campaign and NRSC declined to comment.
  • McLaughlin was brought into the Tucker campaign by Carter Wrenn, a veteran North Carolina political hand with whom he’s long worked. The arrangement put the pollster opposite Tillis strategist Paul Shumaker, a prominent strategist in the state who is regarded as a fierce Wrenn rival.
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