Trump adds some campaign muscle to early state operations

Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Donald Trump has tapped a veteran Republican operative to oversee his campaign’s day-to-day operations in Iowa and New Hampshire, a move that comes as he wages an intensifying battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the two early nominating states.

Eric Hollander will serve as the campaign’s senior advisor for early states, a post that will task him with spearheading operations in those two states. Hollander most recently oversaw Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron's winning primary campaign. Hollander also helped to spearhead the successful 2022 campaign of Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and managed the 2018 reelection bid for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Trump taped an interview with a Des Moines radio station on Wednesday and is set to campaign in Iowa this week. On Thursday, he will appear at the Westside Conservative Breakfast and at a town hall hosted by Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

DeSantis, meanwhile, is embarking on a two-day swing through the state, which has taken him to Des Moines, Sioux City, Pella and Cedar Rapids.

The two campaigns are gearing up for a tough race in Iowa. Trump's campaign says it has a team of in-state volunteers who have knocked on the doors of 35,000 past Iowa caucus-goers. DeSantis' campaign, meanwhile, has hired Sophie Crowell — who served as campaign manager for Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) — to oversee its Iowa efforts.

DeSantis is also relying heavily on an allied super PAC, Never Back Down, to turn out supporters. The organization — which says that it has knocked on 50,000 doors — is staffed by a number of veterans of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. Cruz narrowly defeated Trump in the Iowa caucus that year, though he ended up losing the nomination.

Trump, however, is running what is widely seen as a more professional operation this time around. Unlike 2016, the former president has surrounded himself with a team of seasoned operatives, which includes campaign leaders Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated with Hollander's formal title