Donald Trump will make his first major foray out into the world for his 2024 presidential campaign with a visit to New Hampshire on Saturday where he will reportedly make an announcement that is expected to raise eyebrows among Republican Party activists.
The former president will appear in a high school gym before approximately 200 GOP faithful, and Politico reports that he will announce the hiring of outgoing New Hampshire GOP head Stephen Stepanek to oversee his campaign in the state — which is not expected to be greeted with universal approval.
With the Washington Post reporting that there is a general sense of "Trump fatigue" in the state, with one key Republican bluntly stating "Trump has run his course," Politico is reporting the former president won't be helping his case with the selection of Stepanek — and that has some Trump insiders questioning how serious the former president is about his third presidential run.
"The choice of Stepanek signals a potential return to the roots of Trump’s 2016 campaign in the state that handed him his first primary win that year. Trump lost New Hampshire by a fraction of a point in that general election. Four years later, the state slipped away from him badly, as he lost to President Joe Biden by 7 points," Politico's Lisa Kashinsky wrote before adding, "But Stepanek’s involvement is also likely to rankle some Republican activists. State committee members were clamoring for a change in party leadership after a disastrous election in which the GOP’s slate of hard-right, pro-Trump congressional candidates got pummeled and the party lost seats in the state Legislature."
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Writing that the choice of Stepanek will do "little to quell concern among some of Trump’s former allies in the state about the seriousness of his operation," Kashinsky added, "Associates from Trump’s past campaigns have expressed frustration with what they describe as lackluster — or nonexistent — communication since his November launch. At least one key ally was left in the dark about the former president’s visit this weekend, his first trip back to the state since 2020."
Noting that GOP activists in the state have shown a desire to check out other potential GOP presidential nominees, New Hampshire consultant Jim Merrill claimed the former president has his work cut out for him if he hopes to win the state's primary.
"President Trump starts the [New Hampshire] primary season as a frontrunner but his standing isn’t what it once was,” Merrill explained before conceding, “There is curiosity among voters and operatives alike to check out the potential field.”
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