Ex-Trump aide Lewandowski joins Diehl campaign

Healey says appointment signals Republican's embrace of hate, division

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

LOWELL NATIVE  and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has joined Republican Geoff Diehl’s campaign for governor as a senior advisor, the GOP candidate announced Wednesday, drawing immediate criticism from a top Democrat in the field eager to link Diehl to the unpopular former president.

Diehl announced that Lewandowski, who lives in New Hampshire and served as Donald Trump’s first campaign manager in 2016, had joined his campaign in January. His hiring was accompanied by news that former New England Patriots lineman Fred Smerlas and his wife Kristy Smerlas would act as fundraising co-chairs on the campaign.

“I am pleased to have Corey on the team and honored that he believes in this campaign,” Diehl said in a statement. “Corey has worked on campaigns at every level of government, including the presidential level, and is a key advisor to have in running this campaign.”

Diehl was an active surrogate in Massachusetts during Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, one of the few Republicans in the state to fully embrace the New York real estate developer’s campaign early on. Lewandowski graduated from UMass Lowell, and as an undergraduate ran a write-in campaign for state representative but fell short of the votes needed to qualify for the general election ballot.

Attorney General Maura Healey reacted to the news of Lewandowski’s involvement in the campaign by suggesting it was a signal of the type of campaign Diehl intends to run and the type of governor he would be.

“With Corey Lewandowski in the fold, it is even clearer that Mr. Diehl’s agenda is fueled by hate and division, and will take us backwards on climate, equality, racial justice, and economic growth. There is much at stake in this election, and I am committed to being a governor who brings people together instead of further dividing us, and ushers in positive change for our state. The contrast could not be more stark,” Healey said in a statement.

She follow up with a fundraising email highlighting Lewandowski’s hiring.

Though Lewandowski was replaced as Trump’s campaign manager midway through the 2016 campaign, he went on to run a pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again Action. He was dismissed last year over allegations of sexual harassment made by a donor.

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Matt Murphy

State House News Service
Diehl is one of two Republicans in this year’s primary for governor along with wealthy Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty. Diehl has been campaigning against prolonged COVID-19 restrictions like mask and vaccine mandates for businesses, and in January he reported raising $87,273 giving his campaign $152,921 in cash on hand.

Lewandowski and the Smerlases join a team that already includes Amanda Orlando, Diehl’s campaign manager and a Republican state committeewoman from Gloucester, and spokeswoman Peggy Rose.