Another Trump in Office? NYT Floats Don Jr., Lara for NY House Seat
I can just imagine the tears that were falling on a laptop in The New York Times’ Midtown Manhattan headquarters as this headline was being typed out: “Could Donald Jr. or Lara Trump Run for Office in New York, and Win?”
Potentially, the answer is yes. J. David Goodman writes in a piece published Monday that speculating about the electoral possibilities of a second Trump is “not only a parlor game — it’s a matter of finding the right opportunity for the right Trump.”
Lo and behold, that opportunity might be opening up in New York. Rep. Peter King, a longtime fixture in New York politics, is stepping down from his Long Island seat after a quarter-century in Congress.
King is hardly the kind of guy who might strike you as the typical New York Republican. He’s not a country-club type. If anything, he’s a controversial street brawler in the mold of … well, a Trump.
Yes, he’s had some notable disagreements with the president, but he’s still the kind of Republican The Donald probably had in mind when choosing who he wanted to emulate in the political arena. So, now that he’s retiring, who better to replace him than one of the younger Trump siblings?
The only question is, which one?
“Donald Trump Jr., the president’s elder son and the member of the family who is most naturally fluent in the language of the Republican base, has frequently been mentioned as a possible candidate for office,” Goodman wrote.
“He attracts a younger contingent of Republicans to events, organizers say, and has demonstrated his ability to raise big money for congressional candidates on Long Island.”
However, don’t count out Lara Trump, wife of Don Jr.’s younger brother, Eric. While she doesn’t share Don Jr.’s high profile, she’s a top adviser on her father-in-law’s re-election campaign.
A recent poll by the Club for Growth PAC found Lara Trump winning the primary for King’s district by 30 points. That poll got picked up by Breitbart and things went from there.
Whichever Trump decides to run — if any does — will have to get past longtime Republican fixture Rick Lazio at the primary stage. If you don’t want to see another Trump in office, that’s bad news, since Lazio isn’t a difficult hurdle to clear; he is to New York electoral politics what Harold Stassen was to presidential runs.
“Lara Trump is well positioned to win the Republican nomination for New York’s Second Congressional District and beat perennial loser Rick Lazio,” Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh told Breitbart.
“She is a dynamic leader who is uniquely positioned withstand Nancy Pelosi’s socialist assault and hold the seat, and she would beat Lazio in the primary by more than 30 points if she decides to run.”
The problem, of course, would be that “socialist assault.” King has long been accustomed to 60 percent-plus vote totals in New York’s 2nd Congressional District. However, as in most suburban congressional districts that lean Republican, 2018 was a bit closer. King only won by a 53-47 percent total over Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley.
Presidential election years are usually better for the party in the White House than midterm election years are. Then again, defeating a Trump kid would get the folks who watch MSNBC and donate through ActBlue into a right lather. The Cook Political Report Partisan Voting Index now only rates the district as an R-plus-3, a far cry from the days when King was racking up 20-plus point wins.
However, the Club for Growth thinks that she’d be a pretty good candidate. In fact, its sole intent behind the poll was to tempt Lara Trump into declaring.
“We often do that to test people who we think would be a good candidate,” McIntosh told The Times.
For now, Lara Trump isn’t biting.
“I’m incredibly honored by this showing of support from my fellow New Yorkers,” she told Breitbart.
“While I would never close the door on anything in the future, right now I am focused on winning a second term for President Trump.”
Winning a competitive House seat, however, might do more for President Trump than advising him in the general election. And if not her, there’s always Donald Trump Jr., whose position is more of a surrogate than anything else.
“Whatever the reason for the survey, it underscored the popularity of the Trumps, particularly on Long Island,” Goodman wrote.
“The children are popular among party activists in New York, so much so that Republican fund-raisers practically swoon over the idea of getting one of them to headline an event. Donald Trump Jr., has been particularly prolific and lucrative, making several trips this year to Long Island.”
And while King said that there was plenty of anti-Trump sentiment in his district — as well as the possibility of outside money pouring in should Don Jr. or Lara decide to run — he seemed to endorse the idea of a Trump taking over his position.
“Among Republican voters, Trump is still a magic name,” King said. “I’ve been with Don Jr. several times on Long Island. Was with Lara once at a fund-raising event. She handles herself very well. She’s good with people.”
The question is whether either one can be good enough with the people of New York’s 2nd Congressional District — and to induce more tears to flow inside The New York Times Building.
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