The Epoch Times reports:
Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, would instantly become the candidate to beat if she chose to run for the U.S. Senate to succeed retiring North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, according to people in the Trump family’s political orbit.
“She would immediately galvanize conservative support, and not just because her last name is Trump,” a former Trump 2020 adviser with close ties to the Trump family told The Epoch Times. “Lara knows North Carolina and North Carolina knows her. If she decides to run, she’d bring an unmatched ability to connect with voters, while also being able to raise the money necessary to compete in a close election.”
Lara Trump is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, who describes herself in her Twitter profile as an “NC girl in NYC.” She is married to Eric Trump, the middle son of former President Donald Trump; the couple has two children.
“If Lara decides to run, she will trample the competition in a Republican primary. It won’t be close,” a former Trump White House official told The Epoch Times. “And as far as the general goes, remember North Carolina is a state that former President Trump won twice, and Lara probably has room to grow that support with independents who value a softer tone.”
Reports about Lara Trump considering a Senate run in North Carolina surfaced as recently as November last year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reignited the conversation by flagging her as the biggest winner following the former president’s acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial.
“The biggest winner I think of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News on Jan. 14. “My dear friend Richard Burr, who I like and have been friends with for a long time, just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs.
“Certainly I would be behind her because she represents the future of the Republican Party.”
Burr, who announced in 2016 that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection in 2022, was one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump in the second impeachment trial. The state’s GOP swiftly condemned him for the vote.
“North Carolina Republicans sent Senator Burr to the United States Senate to uphold the Constitution and his vote today to convict in a trial that he declared unconstitutional is shocking and disappointing,” party Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement.
During Trump’s first impeachment trial, Burr voted against convicting Trump of the two charges against him. He led the Senate Intelligence Committee during its years-long investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, which found no evidence that either Trump or anyone on his campaign colluded with Moscow.
Jason Meister, who worked with Lara Trump on the advisory board to the Trump campaign, told The Epoch Times that the former president’s daughter-in-law would surely win if she decided to run.
“Lara Trump is an authentic leader of the America First movement, and she greatly understands the unique challenges our country faces with the Biden administration. The state of North Carolina would be lucky to have her serve,” Meister said.
“She was also an integral part of President Trump’s campaign both in 2016 and 2020. We’re in the midst of the gut renovation of the GOP, and we need to remove the deadwood. And that’s sort of how I see the impeachment vote.”
A survey last year by Big Data Poll that assessed Lara Trump’s image in North Carolina showed her “above water” in terms of favorability, with 11 percent more favorable views than unfavorable. Meanwhile, roughly 1 in 5 North Carolinians said they weren’t familiar enough with her to form an opinion, including a large number of independents, suggesting that she has “room to grow,” Richard Baris, the director of Big Data Poll, told The Epoch Times.
“I have told people before that I do think that she should run if she wants to be a U.S. senator, because she would be very strong,” Baris said. “Now that we have the election and we saw who voted for Donald Trump and how he kept the state of North Carolina in his column, I think, really, it would take someone like Lara Trump for the Republicans to hold it.”
Trump won the state by 1.3 points in 2020 against Joe Biden and by 3.6 points in 2016 against Hillary Clinton.
According to Baris, the growing political influence of the Research Triangle—an area in North Carolina anchored by three major research universities and dozens of large corporations—requires any viable Republican contender to draw votes from registered Democrats in the western part of the state who often vote Republican in federal elections.
“For the presidency and for the Senate, they can vote Republican and often do. But they have been less likely to do so over the last two years. Because these are working-class, old school, ancestral Democrats, and they don’t like traditional Republicans,” Baris said.
“So somebody like Lara Trump, especially if she had the same strong message as her father-in-law, I think would be a very strong candidate.
“Without those working-class people, the math just doesn’t add up.”
Baris said Lara Trump impressed him as a great retail politician while on the campaign trail.
“She could get up in front of a crowd, and then when she gets off the stage, she can mingle,” Baris said, noting that connecting with people face-to-face is key for Republicans because of the media’s left-leaning bias. “You really have to be able to do that if you’re going to run for the Senate, especially if you are a Republican.”
The impeachment trial and subsequent acquittal of the former president made Lara Trump an even stronger candidate because Republican primary voters overwhelmingly view the impeachment as a political maneuver by the Democrats, according to Jim McLaughlin, a Trump campaign pollster who has worked with more than 70 members of Congress, 14 U.S. senators, and 10 governors.
A recent survey of voters in battleground states by McLaughlin and Associates showed that 60 percent of all voters viewed the impeachment as a waste of time. Meanwhile, 80 percent of Trump voters and 76 percent of Republicans were less likely to vote for a member of Congress who voted to impeach Trump.
“That whole impeachment is why people hate Washington,” McLaughlin told The Epoch Times, pointing to the multiple crises facing the nation.
McLaughlin, who polled for the Trump campaign during the first impeachment trial, said the former president’s approval ratings were “as strong as they ever were” following the acquittal.
“I think it’s one of those things that makes them—Donald Trump, Lara Trump—makes them even stronger,” McLaughlin said. “Anybody with President Trump’s name would be a great candidate, let alone his daughter-in-law.”Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov