WASHINGTON – Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law who emerged during the 2020 presidential campaign as a defender of President Trump’s lowest political instincts, is now considering her own political future in her home state of North Carolina. North.
As Mr. Trump tries to overturn the election to stay in power, Ms. Trump, three allies said, told associates she plans to run for the Senate in 2022, in what is expected to be a competitive race for the Senate. first open Senate. seat in a very swinging swing state in a generation. Senator Richard Burr, a low-key Republican lawmaker who has been put in the limelight as chairman of a committee to investigate the president’s ties to Russia, has said he will retire at the end of his term. mandate. Despite increased participation in rural areas, Mr. Trump won North Carolina by a smaller margin than he did four years ago, just 1.3 percentage points, a sign that in the Together, the state has a blue streak and the race for the Senate seat will be hotly contested. by both parties in the first post-Donald Trump election.
But not, perhaps, an entirely post-Trump election, if Ms. Trump continues.
Ms Trump, 38, a former personal trainer and television producer for Inside Edition, married Eric Trump in the family estate of Mar-a-Lago in 2014 and worked as a senior advisor on the Trump 2020 campaign. Now the Daughter-in-law whom Mr. Trump had often joked to donors that he “couldn’t choose from a list” presents herself as the first test of the lasting power of the Trump name.
“She’s very charismatic, she understands retail politics well and has a natural instinct for politics,” said Mercedes Schlapp, a campaign advisor to Trump who has traveled the country as a surrogate alongside Mrs. Trump. . “In North Carolina, in particular, she’s a household name and people know her. She worked very hard on the campaign and was very involved in many decisions throughout.
Ms. Trump declined to comment on her plans.
Much of the speculation about who might inherit the Trump mantle has centered on his eldest children, who have cultivated their own niche. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has the deepest connection to the online disinformation system that fueled his father’s support as well as to the Trump base that supports Second Amendment protection.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and a White House official who focused on workforce development, has been deployed to the election trail to make the president more palatable to suburban women who were put off by his tone and his tweets. She has generally avoided repeating her father’s ad hominem attacks on President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., or his son Hunter, or casting doubt on the integrity of the election.
But Ivanka Trump, people familiar with her plans have said, is still deciding to settle her family in New Jersey or Florida and has no immediate plans to pursue an elected term herself. Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, despite his talent for channeling the identity of his father, may choose to give up a candidacy all together.
Eric Trump, the most discreet profile of Trump’s siblings, has never cultivated a political spotlight, leaving the way clear for his wife.
Eric and Lara Trump currently live in Westchester, New York, with their two young children (their daughter, Carolina, is named after the state Ms. Trump is now looking at). It is not clear that simply having the support of the family would empty, or even diminish, the field in what is expected to be one of the most targeted seats in the country where Republican candidates with experience in the state are already in line.
There is Representative Mark Walker, a Trump ally whom the president has encouraged to run for Mr. Burr’s seat, and has indicated he would support. There’s Pat McCrory, the former governor, who said he’s watching the seat. Tim Moore, the Speaker of the House in North Carolina, would be in the mix. And Dan Forest, who just lost a gubernatorial race to Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper, is expected to be on the pitch.
And then there’s another candidate from the President’s inner circle, at least in his current form: Mark Meadows, the former North Carolina Representative and White House chief of staff, is expected to return home and run as well. for the seat. . Aides Mr. Meadows declined to comment on his political future.
None of these more experienced candidates have the recognition of their name and the ability to raise large sums online than the president’s daughter-in-law, who has cultivated her own profile with a YouTube campaign and events across the country, at. “She would be great,” said Kellyanne Conway, former White House official and director of the 2016 Trump campaign. “She’s got the trio: She can raise funds, raise awareness on key issues and bring attention to her race. Unlike many typical politicians, she connects with people and is a compelling messenger.
Michael Watley, the chairman of the Republican Party of North Carolina, predicted the race would generate significant interest from a wide range of people.
“I think you’re going to need a dance card to keep everything good,” he says.
In other words, Morgan Jackson, a Democratic strategist based in North Carolina, said, “There are a lot of people ahead of Lara Trump online. Given the scarcity of free seats, I don’t believe the people who actually live in North Carolina who have come here will be stepping down for someone else.
Ms. Trump, who spoke at the Republican National Convention, has made numerous campaign stops in North Carolina this year. On the trail, she has been prepared to go where surrogates like Ivanka Trump, seeking to soften the president, have not. Speaking on behalf of her stepfather in her hometown of Wilmington, she echoed the president’s baseless attempts to undermine confidence in the election results. She said the system was “ripe with fraud” and claimed that universal postal voting “is not a good system, it has never been tested”.
On CNN in October, she accused Mr. Biden of suffering from severe “cognitive decline” and answered questions that Mr. Trump was encouraging violence against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who the FBI said had recently been the target of a kidnapping plot. Ms Trump cited her stepfather’s behavior as an example of someone “just having fun at a Trump rally.”
Since polling day, she has actively raised online conspiracy theories about electoral equipment maker Dominion Voting Systems Inc., which the president says transferred Trump’s votes to Mr. Biden’s column.
A former Trump aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, claimed in a 2018 brief that Ms. Trump offered him a $ 15,000-per-month contract in return for silence about his time in the White House, and then released a secret recording that Ms. Manigault Newman said he supported this claim.
While the idea of another Trump testing political waters was anathema to Republicans who wanted the party to move away from its current Trumpian identity, others have tried to attract the next generation.
The Club for Growth, an influential conservative anti-tax group, earlier this year commissioned a poll with Ms. Trump as a Congressional candidate representing New York’s Second District.
David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, said at the time that the group simply probed his name to show there was a well of support and lured him into an open race.
In a hypothetical primary, the poll showed she won by 30 points.