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Trump attracted scores of new donors. Will they give to other Republicans now?

Adam Wollner, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

Stanley Hubbard, the CEO of the Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting and a major GOP donor, said his main goal will be electing more Republicans to Congress in 2022, though he hasn’t decided which groups to back yet.

“It will probably be good for his ego,” Hubbard said of Trump’s group. “I would have to hear about who it’s for, who’s managing it, what other Republicans think of it.”

Two of Trump’s joint fundraising committees — which raised money for his own campaign, the RNC and state parties — were a major source of cash for the RNC over the past five years. Since Trump became the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in May 2016, those two committees transferred more than $300 million to the RNC, accounting for roughly 1 in 5 dollars raised by the RNC in that time period. That includes a $6.8 million transfer to the RNC this year.

But Trump’s post-presidency relationship with major GOP groups has otherwise been off to a contentious start. Last month, his attorneys sent cease-and-desist letters to the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee in an attempt to prevent them from using his image in fundraising appeals. All three committees brushed off the letters.

Trump also released a statement urging his supporters to give money directly to his organization rather than “RINOs,” or Republicans In Name Only, though he clarified soon after, saying, “I fully support the Republican Party and important GOP Committees.”

The three main Republican committees have all included Trump in online ads this week, according to Facebook’s Ad Library, a sign of the former president’s continuing appeal to small-dollar donors.

“The RNC and President Trump are focused on the same goal – retaking our Congressional majorities in 2022,” RNC spokesman Tommy Pigott wrote in an email. “There is much more that unites our Party than divides it, and together we will work to expose Democrats’ bad policies and elect Republicans up and down the ballot.”

 

Even if Trump and the GOP groups have patched up their differences for now, there are looming fights down the road. Trump has vowed to seek vengeance against the Republicans who voted against him during the impeachment proceedings that were spurred by the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump has already endorsed one of his former aides, Max Miller, who is challenging Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment. If Trump continues to wade into GOP primaries, that would put him further at odds with Republican congressional leaders, who traditionally support incumbents in their reelection battles.

Morton Blackwell, a longtime RNC member from Virginia, said he understood why some Republicans were concerned about the former president competing with other members of the party for funds. But he argued that the Trump and GOP groups would see there is more for everyone to gain by cooperating, even if their interests don’t always directly align.

“Anybody with good sense would see a working relationship would benefit both, and that an adversarial relationship would hurt both,” Blackwell said.

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(Ben Wieder contributed to this report.)

©2021 McClatchy Washington Bureau. Visit at mcclatchydc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.