Rodimer arrived in Austin late Wednesday afternoon and told people that he had been encouraged by Cruz and members of Trump’s family to lead. According to two people familiar with the exchange who asked for anonymity.
Rodimer, one of a kind world wrestling entertainment sensation, the lost the Nevada Congress and Senate elections for the past three years and shocked Republicans in Washington and Texas with his decision to step into a crowded field of 22 more candidates, including the late member of the widow of Congress. He has no previous ties to the district but raised more than $ 3 million for his 2020 race and could be impressive in a messed up run.
His run also raises questions about Cruz’s role and future clout in the state. The state’s junior senator and former presidential candidate He was recently targeted for a trip to Cancun, Mexico, while his state was hit by a severe winter storm. A Cruz spokesman did not respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.
Rodimer first tried to file an application in Fort Worth on Wednesday afternoon. Realizing he had to file a file in Austin, which was several hours away from traffic, he chartered a plane to take him there.
He told people that he was encouraged by members of Trump’s entourage to come to Texas to apply for the seat and that he came from Mar-a-Lago and would return afterwards, according to those familiar with his exchange . He said Cruz “wanted to see him in Congress too,” said these observers.
In email replies to questions posed by POLITICO, Rodimer declined to respond directly to whether Trump or his family were pushing him to start a campaign.
“A number of people have privately encouraged me to run for office in the state. I had dinner with Sen. Cruz a few weeks ago and he thought I should think about a future run, but not this seat specifically “said Rodimer.
Nearly two dozen candidates, including 10 Democrats and 11 Republicans, have signed up for the special elections by the deadline. Many local leaders have begun to band together behind Susan Wright, widow of the late Congressman and longtime politician and a member of the Texas state executive committee. Other candidates include Rep. Jake Ellzey, a veteran who ran against Wright for the then-open seat in 2018, and Brian Harrison, a former top Trump advisor at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Katrina Pierson, a former top Trump campaign The spokesman, who ran for a seat nearby in 2014, considered an offer, but decided against it on Tuesday. Rodimer said her decision to suspend the race convinced him to take part.
But he will certainly face carpet bags. It’s not clear whether Rodimer spent much time in the district before signing up for convention. In a statement, he said he and his wife had decided to move to Texas after his defeat last November and ended up there Fort Worth for its “Wide Open Spaces” and “Down Home Feel”.
“We’ve been looking for houses and apartments for the past few months but haven’t really thought about running again for Congress,” he said. “It wasn’t until I saw the madness of the Biden administration’s open borders policy that I was encouraged to run to bring common sense values to Washington, D.C.”
Rodimer has noted that he previously worked as a home builder in Houston and owned a house in Galveston – both of which are hundreds of miles from the district.
The race for the 6th district of Texas, which includes a huge chunk of the southwest area of Dallas and the city of Arlington, offers a first glimpse into how suburban voters behaved in the post-Trump era. The May 1st race is an all-party election. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, as is likely to be the case with so many candidates on the ballot, The race moves to a runoff that will be scheduled later.
The last time he ran for a seat in Congress in Nevada, Rodimer was haunted by his old arrest records being broadcast. He was accused of assaulting three times between 2010 and 2013 and of beating someone in disputes in restaurants and nightclubs, the Associated Press reported in October 2019.
House Democrats ran television commercials He vented his past and cited a police report that Rodimer caused “intracranial bleeding” in a person he attacked. “Rodimer himself said he likes to fuck people,” said a narrator at one point.
A second report from the Associated Press in July 2020 revealed that in 2018 Las Vegas police responded to two 911 calls from Rodimer’s current wife alleging domestic violence and that Rodimer had stolen her jewelry and guns. The two are now married and have children.
Rodimer lost his 2020 campaign against Democratic MP Susie Lee, 49 to 46 percent, on her swing seat anchored in Las Vegas.
When he arrived in the state this week, he first inquired about the Texas residency requirement to apply for office. He said recently registered to vote in the state and wanted to make sure that would be enough for him to submit, according to people familiar with the exchange.
Republicans are optimistic that they will hold this seat, but there is some potential for it to become competitive. Although the district has a lot of GOP DNA, it has leaned toward Democrats since 2016. Mitt Romney wore it in 2012 with 17 points, Trump won it in 2020 with just 3 points.
A number of potentially strong Democratic candidates ran for the seat, including educator Shawn Lassiter and Lydia Bean, the Democratic candidate for a seat in the State House in 2020.
Known as Dan Rodman when he appeared for World Wrestling Entertainment, Rodimer has made his past as a wrestler the subject of his campaigns. He is also an attorney who graduated from the Ave Maria School of Law in southwest Florida.
“Everything is bigger in Texas – and you can see how tall I am. I’m running because we have to fight to keep our constitutionally friendly states,” he wrote in a statement on his website.
His website also notes that he ran for the Nevada State Senate in 2018. On his 2020 home run, he received referrals from Trump and Cruz.
When Rodimer arrived in Texas on Wednesday, he didn’t say he had Trump’s support for this race – but he told people he hoped to get it.
“We’ll see,” he said, according to a source.