Could Donald Jr. Or Lara Trump Run For Public Office In New York And Also Win?

NEW YORK – In some Republican circles, the notion that President Donald Trump's children run for political office is not only a sort of parlor game, rather it is about finding the right opportunity for the right Trump.

Could that opportunity exist in the state of New York, an entity that mostly votes for Democrats? And could it happen now?

Some state Republicans are eager to try. As Republican Rep. Peter King will not attempt to re-elect next year on Long Island, circumstances may never be better for a younger Trump to run.

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Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the president and the family member who speaks the language of the Republican base more fluently, has often been mentioned as a possible candidate for public office.

According to the organizers of political events, he usually summons a younger group of Republicans and has demonstrated his ability to raise large sums of money for candidates for Congress on Long Island.

Lara Trump, who is married to the president's son, Eric, is a senior advisor in the president's re-election campaign. Its potential for a future public office has also been mentioned by some people close to the family.

"Among Republican voters, Trump is still a magical name," King said in a telephone interview. “I have been with Don Jr. several times on Long Island. Once I accompanied Lara to a fundraising event. She drives very well. It is good with people. ”

The rumor about a possible Trump family candidacy increased last week, when a survey in New York emerged that showed Lara Trump winning by more than 30 points in a hypothetical Republican primary to occupy the King's seat.

The survey, conducted this month and paid for by an influential conservative group that declares itself against taxes, Club for Growth, was published by Breitbart, a right-wing informational site, and quickly gained strength.

"Word spread quickly about the poll," said John Jay LaValle, former president of the Suffolk County Republican Party who represented Trump in the 2016 campaign. "I haven't heard anyone say anything negative about it."

David McIntosh, president of Club for Growth, acknowledged that Lara Trump had nothing to do with the survey and said the intention of the committee was to show her how popular she was in order to participate in the campaign.

Lara Trump is a native of North Carolina and now lives in Manhattan. She is currently not a candidate on Long Island or anywhere else.

"We often do this to evaluate people we think would be good candidates," McIntosh said of the strategy of including her in the survey that, according to the group, cost about $ 3,000.

Lara Trump said she felt "incredibly honored" by the results of the survey, but is not interested in participat ing.

"Although I would not close the door to any possibility in the future, at the moment I am focused on winning a second term for President Trump," he said in a statement.

It is possible that the survey was a simple test. Or maybe it was a strategy used by Club for Growth, which in the 2016 elections strongly opposed Trump, to ingratiate himself with the president and his followers (the group supports his re-election).

Some local members of the Republican Party saw it as a sort of political adjustment because it showed Lara Trump completely surpassing the only other nominated candidate, Rick Lazio, former Long Island congressman. McIntosh has defined Lazio as a “repeat loser,” but said: “I like Rick Lazio. There is no personal animosity in this. ”

When asked about the results of the survey, Lazio said in an email: "As far as I know, I have never met Lara Trump," adding that "I had no knowledge of whether, at any time, she lived, worked and had a significant participation with the people of the Second District of Congress. ”

Whatever the reason for the survey, it served to demonstrate the popularity of the Trump, particularly on Long Island.

The president's children are popular with party activists in New York, so much so that Republican fundraisers practically faint with the idea of ​​getting one of them to lead an event. Donald Trump Jr. has been particularly prolific and lucrative, and this year he has made several trips to Long Island.

"They have been extremely useful for the party at the local level," LaValle said of the president's family. "They are certainly very well known here."

They often come to social and political events, LaValle said and referred to the night of November 21, when Donald Trump Jr. led a fundraiser for Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican who represents east of Suffolk County.

The event, held at a banquet hall in St. James, New York, attracted more than 350 people and raised more than $ 200,000 for the re-election of Zeldin, according to campaign information.

On repeated occasions, Trump Jr. has been mentioned by supporters as a possible future presidential candidate and, somewhat less realistic, for the mayor of New York City, a difficult task due to the city's strong Democratic base. and his intense dislike for the president’s decisions.

"Look, I never rule out anything," he said this month on the "CBS This Morning" program when asked about his political future. He declined to comment for this article.

At the same time, the political opportunity for Lara Trump or any other Trump relative to run for a place like Long Island may be closing. Now Democrats outnumber Republicans among registered voters, as they have managed to gain an advantage in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

In addition, Trump's name is as provocative for Democrats as it is magnetic among Republicans, so a local campaign involving one of them could attract large sums of money from activist donors from both parties.

"There is solid support and really strong opposition" to the president, King said of his district. "There is a tremendous amount of anti-Trump energy."

Lara Trump could win, he said. "At least it would be a very competitive contest."

* Copyright: 2019 The New York Times Company

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