Former Trump campaign official joins Ramaswamy’s 2024 GOP bid

A top supporter of former President Donald Trump in the crucial early voting state of New Hampshire is jumping ship and joining rival Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign. Longtime state Rep. Fred Doucette, who served as New Hampshire co-chair of Trump’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, is joining the Ramaswamy campaign as a senior strategist and co-chair in the Granite State, which holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar. “Vivek is the person who will deliver the America First agenda, without the drama,” Doucette said in a statement released on Thursday by the Ramaswamy campaign. Ramaswamy, a first-time candidate and multi-millionaire health care and tech sector entrepreneur, best-selling author, conservative political commentator, and culture wars crusader, has heavily campaigned in New Hampshire – as well as the first in the nation caucus state of Iowa – since declaring his candidacy on the Fox News Channel in late February. Ramaswamy returns to the Granite State next week for what his campaign touts is a bus tour through all 10 New Hampshire counties. IS NEW HAMPSHIRE STILL TRUMP COUNTRY AS THE FORMER PRESIDENT RUNS A THIRD TIME FOR THE WHITE HOUSE “Fred gets things done. He has a proven track record of leadership, delivering results and winning,” Ramaswamy said in a statement. “We’re taking America First to the next level, and I am confident Fred will be a key asset in our mission in the crucible of New Hampshire politics. We’re ready to roll and revive the American experiment, starting with the Granite state.” Doucette, the current deputy majority leader in the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives, was on hand as Ramaswamy held a town-hall style event in Manchester, New Hampshire, in late February. He’s met with Ramaswamy a number of times since, noting, “I’ve been talking with Vivek for several weeks now and he’s an inspirational candidate who can energize Republicans and unite the country.” RAMASWAMY SPOTLIGHTS ‘SHATTERING’ GRASSROOTS FUNDRAISING EXPECTATIONS In an interview with Fox News, Doucette said, “I think we have a path forward in Vivek… We’ve got a guy that has a message that resonates, an America First message.” “He gives people someone to vote for, not someone to vote against,” Doucette emphasized. Doucette stressed, “I believe that President Trump’s agenda worked” and said his decision not to support the former president as he runs a third straight time for the White House was “terribly hard.” “I came on board in March of 2015 and we were fired up. We were energized. We were engaged. We were about getting it done,” Doucette recalled. But he described the current Trump campaign as “flat.” Doucette argued that Trump’s 2024 campaign “is not taking a page and looking forward” and said that impression “played into a lot of my decision-making.” He added that Trump supporters in the key primary and general election battleground state “were disappointed” in some of the decisions made by the Trump campaign. Doucette isn’t the only New Hampshire Trump campaign veteran joining Ramaswamy’s team.  2024 FRICTION: FORMER TRUMP STAFFERS JOIN NEW PRO-DESANTIS SUPER PAC Josh Whitehouse, a Republican strategist who as a state representative during the 2016 cycle was the first elected official in New Hampshire to endorse Trump and built coalitions for the Trump campaign, will serve as Ramaswamy’s New Hampshire state director.  Whitehouse, who served in the Trump administration as White House liaison to the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, told Fox News: “New Hampshire Republicans are looking for a transformational leader and they want an outsider. Vivek is a successful entrepreneur who is ready, willing and able to build a grassroots campaign to put America First. I am thrilled to be a part of the team.” New Hampshire was the state that boosted Trump toward the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and eventually the White House. After narrowly losing the Iowa caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Trump crushed his rivals a week later in New Hampshire’s presidential primary, which rocketed the then-business mogul and reality TV star toward the nomination and accelerated the thinning of the GOP field of candidates. Four years later, the incumbent president demolished his long-shot primary challenger – former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld – 84% to 9% in New Hampshire’s Republican nominating contest.  WHO’S IN AND WHO’S ON THE SIDELINES — YOUR GUIDE TO THE 2024 GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION RACE Fast-forward to 2023, and Trump is placing many chips on strong finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which votes third in the Republican Party’s nominating calendar. “We’re starting right here as a candidate for president,” Trump said in January during a stop at the high school in Salem, New Hampshire, as he headlined the state GOP’s annual meeting. During his visit, which came more than two months after the former president launched his 2024 campaign, Trump said: “I look forward to returning many times” and predicted that “one year from now we will win the New Hampshire primary and with the help of the good people of this state… we’ll take back the White House.” But Trump hasn’t returned to New Hampshire since making that first – and only – stop on Jan. 28. Steve Stepanek, a former state lawmaker and businessman who co-chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in the Granite State and who earlier this year finished up four years steering the state party committee, told Fox News that the former president is expected back later in the spring.
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