“Awkward Dissonance” and “Sign of Desperation” as Trumpworld Hammers Timken for Being a Political Fraud
March 3, 2022
Columbus, OH — Today, U.S. Senate candidate Jane Timken will campaign alongside Rob Portman – one of the most establishment, Mitch McConnell-friendly, and Trump-skeptical Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, a new report from Politico underscores how Timken is trying to have it both ways – as both a “real MAGA conservative” and a squishy establishment pick – and failing spectacularly, languishing at the back of the field while GOP primary voters reject her as a phony and “Trumpworld notice[s]” the “sign of desperation” coming from her campaign.
“Jane Timken is a political fraud who is so desperate to stay relevant in Ohio’s nasty and chaotic GOP Senate primary that she’ll claim the Trump mantle one day and celebrate the endorsement of Rob Portman—one of the Senate’s most Trump-skeptical Republicans—the next. Timken’s campaign has failed to gain traction because Ohioans see straight through her never-ending and blatantly self-serving political calculations,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
March 3, 2022
- Since becoming Donald Trump’s handpicked state party chair in 2017, Jane Timken has straddled the line between Ohio’s traditional GOP and MAGA spheres.
- Now, as she bids for the Republican Senate nomination, Timken is still betting she can have it both ways. It’s a risky wager.
- Timken’s continued touting of her endorsement from retiring Sen. Rob Portman, an old-school Republican whose brand of statesmanship and bipartisan compromise is nearly the opposite of Trump’s approach, could jeopardize her chances of winning the former president’s endorsement in a crowded primary where it looms large.
- “She has to do a pretty effective juggling act to make those issues sound like they square,” said Doug Preisse, a Republican strategist and former chair of the Franklin County Republican Party, referring to Timken’s invocation of both Portman and Trump on the campaign trail. “She’s a smart, accomplished professional. But when you’re communicating two or three contradictory sounding messages, it doesn’t matter how good of a communicator you are.”
- A Harvard-educated attorney who married into a wealthy family of global steel manufacturers, Timken has closely toed the MAGA line since joining the race a year ago. After initially defending GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez for his vote to impeach Trump last year, she turned around and renounced her support for the embattled congressman, then called for him to resign.
- More recently, Timken hired lightning-rod Trump world advisers who have generated controversy within the party. And in a new ad Thursday, Timken decried the “pretenders” in the Senate primary, flashing photos of herself with Trump as a narrator called her “the real Trump conservative.”
- At the same time, Timken, a longtime friend of Portman, has enthusiastically embraced the retiring senator’s support. As her campaign scrambles to set itself apart in a packed field of Republicans purporting to be the most authentically MAGA, it’s caused some awkward dissonance.
- Portman voted to certify the election results, something Timken said she wouldn’t have done. He championed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, while Timken bashed it. Describing the events of Jan. 6 as “an attack on democracy itself,” Portman excoriated Trump, saying the president “showed sympathy for the violent mob” and bore some responsibility for what took place.
- On Tuesday, the Timken campaign performed its balancing act again. It sent out a press release announcing the hiring of Corey Lewandowski — who was let go from Trump’s super PAC this fall after facing allegations of sexual assault — and David Bossie, a former Trump campaign official who was behind a recent RNC resolution declaring that the events surrounding Jan. 6 amounted to “legitimate political discourse.”
- Then, hours later, the campaign put out another announcement: Portman would headline their campaign stops this weekend.
- Trumpworld noticed.
- “If you’re attempting to go after grassroots voters that are frustrated with the political process, that are frustrated with career politicians, that want some new blood — usually you don’t go campaigning with a career politician that’s retiring,” said a person in Trump’s orbit who is familiar with the former president’s thinking.
- Timken’s GOP opponents Josh Mandel, Mike Gibbons and JD Vance have all made a determined effort to win the Trump endorsement, while Matt Dolan is seeking to appeal to moderate Republicans who are less sold on Trump.
- The Trump ally described Timken’s hiring of Lewandowski and Bossie as “a sign of desperation” and a way to “throw money at” the exercise of securing an endorsement from the former president.
- Trump held separate meetings recently with Mandel and Vance. Last week, Gibbons paid to attend a fundraising event for Trump’s super PAC at Mar-a-Lago, though he did not gain a one-on-one meeting.
- Trump is expected to “eventually” make a decision on who to endorse in the Ohio primary, which is now two months away. But no decision is imminent, said the person familiar.
- Dueling internal polls have shown the primary’s top five candidates in a range of positions in recent months. While January polling from Timken’s campaign put her in second place, just behind Mandel, in recent weeks independent polls have put Timken at the back of the pack.
- The Emerson poll, conducted this past weekend, found that 39 percent of GOP primary voters remained undecided in the Senate race. It also suggested that Portman’s endorsement may not provide a significant boost for Timken with primary voters: 38 percent said the senator’s endorsement made them less likely to vote for her, while 43 percent said it would make no difference.
- Portman’s office declined to answer questions about whether he has any concerns with Timken’s hiring of Lewandowski and Bossie — or if the senator would mind campaigning alongside them. Instead, a Portman spokesperson provided a general statement about Timken being “the best candidate to advance conservative Republican policies” and having the ability to win both the primary and general election.
- While Timken is scheduled to campaign again this month with former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik — a key member of a Trump command center that worked to overturn the 2020 election results — it’s unlikely Portman will share the stage with some of Trump’s top acolytes.