While some Republicans in the state fret about their association with Donald Trump – even skipping the Republican National Convention altogether to avoid affiliation-by-osmosis – PA Sen. Scott Wagner is working overtime to boost for the billionaire businessman-turned-presidential nominee.
“I’m going to purchase 20,000 Trump lawn signs – anyone who wants a Trump sign in my district is going to get one,” he said, speaking from his delegate spot at the RNC, in Cleveland. “I’m going to make sure the base is energized. Pennsylvania is a crucial state this year.”
Wagner is a businessman who successfully ran for his seat in the 28th District as a write-in candidate two years ago with a pro-business, Tea Party-esque platform. His district, encompassing most of York County, is a sweet spot for Trump’s key white working class demographic, and Wagner has been eying a run against Gov. Tom Wolf’s in 2018.
Prominent state GOP members, like US Sen. Pat Toomey, have waffled on their support for Trump, fearing that being associated with his racist rhetoric will damage their own future election hopes. But the state senator has been a prominent support and said he’d even been flown out to strategize with Trump’s national campaign team and PA operatives.
The state senator had choice words for his hesitant colleagues.
“The whole problem is, you’re either loyal or you’re not,” he explained. “Trump is the Republican candidate – I’m not going to be someone who hides under a rock. If you do that, you’re a coward. He’s our candidate.”
Wagner said he’d pay for the lawn signs with his own campaign funds, but didn’t know offhand how much they would cost.
“I’m still pricing it out,” he said. “I’m making a big purchase, so I should get a good price.”
Wagner said the need to personally buy Trump campaign materials for his constituents was not an indicator of the businessman’s still-paltry ground game in the crucial Keystone state.
“I think right now the demand for the signs is so great that we can get them, but we can’t get the quantity we want. So I’m gonna make an investment here,” he said. "I'd also like to get Donald Trump, Jr. down here to speak. The kids have a great message."