Donald Trump has hired Republican strategist Rick Wiley, last seen managing Scott Walker’s 2016 presidential run, to boost his campaign heading into the Republican National Convention.
From the Washington Post:
NEW YORK — Donald Trump has hired a veteran campaign operative with deep roots in the Republican Party establishment to take a senior position on his presidential campaign, as the GOP front-runner moves quickly to incorporate seasoned professionals in his inner circle.
Rick Wiley, who has more than two decades of experience in state and national politics and most recently served as campaign manager for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential bid, is joining the Trump campaign as national political director, two Republicans with knowledge of the hire told The Washington Post.
Throughout the season, Trump has been criticized for his weak ground game in important states compared to rival Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas senator. Wiley arrives with a mandate from Trump to beef up the campaign’s field operations in the states with primaries ahead on the calendar, including delegate-rich California, as well as prepare for what the Trump team views as a likely general election.
Wiley is the latest big-name hire for Trump, joining a senior team that now includes longtime GOP strategist Paul Manafort, who was hired in late March to manage the campaign’s delegate operations and summer convention plans and also has broad authority with overall campaign strategy.
By bringing on Wiley and Manafort, Trump is professionalizing what had been an unusually insular team led by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner, spokeswoman Hope Hicks and other Trump loyalists.
Wiley will work out of Trump’s soon-to-open office in Washington, where he can use his relationships with party leaders to build bridges on Trump’s behalf. Wiley once worked for Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as the party’s national political director, a position from which he oversaw a $178 million budget and helped guide 2012 nominee Mitt Romney’s ground game in the general election.
In 2014, when Republicans took control of the Senate, Wiley was a consultant for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He worked with Joni Ernst’s Iowa campaign in Iowa, among others, on strategy and get-out-the-vote operations.
That year Wiley also advised the Republican Governors Association — which was then chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, now a Trump surrogate and adviser — and oversaw the committee’s spending in states including Wisconsin, where Walker won a tough reelection fight.
Walker recruited Wiley, who has roots in Wisconsin politics and ran the state party in the mid-2000s, to manage his short-lived presidential campaign. With his signature goatee, Wiley was often at the governor’s side as a strategist and jack-of-all-trades adviser.
But Wiley’s spendthrift ways on the Walker campaign were the subject of heavy criticism, including at the time from the Trump campaign. Walker’s campaign lasted only 70 days, with the governor dropping out of the race last September after burning through roughly $7 million. The campaign spent lavishly, with a payroll of more than 80 staffers as well as dozens of consultants and vendors, according to its Federal Election Commission filings.
Walker was not Wiley’s first presidential campaign. He served as deputy national political director for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid; he former New York mayor is now backing Trump. Wiley also ran the RNC’s operations in the swing state of Wisconsin for then-President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection.