Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has enlisted veteran lobbyist and political PR consultant Paul Manafort in an effort to lock up his delegate lead in the Republican primaries, according to a report yesterday by the New York Times.
Longtime Republican strategist Manafort served as coordinator for Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign, and later advised the presidential runs for Sens. Robert Dole and John McCain, as well as the successful campaigns of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush.
Manafort was founding partner of Republican lobbying powerhouse Black, Manafort & Stone, which he left in 1996. That firm — later renamed Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly — is now part of Prime Policy Group, a subsidiary of WPP’s Burson-Marsteller.
Manafort is currently senior partner at Davis, Manafort and Freedman. That firm is led by Rick Davis, who was national campaign manager for John McCain's 2008 presidential run.
Manafort made headlines when he worked as an advisor for the parliamentary election campaign of Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovich, who later became that country's president. Yanukovich was removed from his post in early 2014.
The New York Times posited that Trump has brought in the seasoned strategist to help him sweep up the remaining delegates needed to secure his position as the Republican party's presidential candidate, as well as to prepare for a potential showdown in July at the Cleveland Republican National Convention, where many of Trump’s detractors within the GOP are still hoping for a contested convention.