Kellyanne Conway Joins Campaign Of Senate Candidate In Ohio She Compares To Trump

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Mary Papenfuss
·Trends Reporter, HuffPost
·2 min read
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More Kellyanne Conway. (Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images)
More Kellyanne Conway. (Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images)

Onetime Donald Trump campaign manager and former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has joined the U.S. Senate campaign of a first-time businessman candidate she compared to her former boss.

Conway has been named senior adviser by Bernie Moreno, a Cleveland luxury car dealer turned blockchain executive who is vowing to “protect Trump’s victories.”

Conway touted Moreno in a statement as “not a politician. He’s a conservative, a political outsider, and a successful businessman just like President Donald J. Trump. He has lived the American Dream and wishes to protect it for future generations.”

Moreno wants to be seen as the Trump-like candidate, even though he blasted Trump as a “lunatic” and a “maniac” in emails with a Republican fundraising consultant in 2016, NBC News reported Monday.

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Moreno has joined what’s shaping up to be a crowded Republican primary to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

The leading contenders are former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and former state party chairwoman Jane Timken. So far all, including Moreno, appear to be competing to convince voters that they’re the most like Trump.

The former president hasn’t yet endorsed anyone. But four candidates — Mandel, Timken, Moreno and Ohio investment banker Mike Gibbons — vied for his support at an agitated meeting last month at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in what one observer compared to a scene from the “Hunger Games,” Politico reported.

Conway’s involvement in Moreno’s campaign could be an indication of which way Trump is leaning, but Conway wasn’t giving out any hints.

“My conversations with President Trump are private. I would never dangle or promise President Trump’s endorsement to any candidate. That is his alone to grant or withhold,” she told Politico.

Conway and Moreno both attended GOP functions last week at Mar-a-Lago. Conway addressed contributors and met privately with Trump several times during her visit, sources told Politico.

Conway most recently made news by appearing backstage at “American Idol” to support 16-year-old daughter Claudia Conway in the singing competition. The smiling mother-daughter scenes were a marked contrast to ugly confrontations at home captured on tape and posted online by Claudia. The teen was booted in an “American Idol” elimination round last month.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.