Donald Trump plans to name two respected Republican operatives to run his effort in Pennsylvania amid criticism that the real estate developer has lagged in building the organization required of a presidential campaign.
David Urban will be senior adviser and Ted Christian will be the state director, according to sources close to the Trump campaign, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to announce the move. Both men are lobbyists.
The development comes as many local Republican leaders in the state, a crucial target for the presumptive nominee, are complaining about a lack of troops and contact from the campaign. Democrat Hillary Clinton's state director, Corey Dukes, has been on the ground for two months, by contrast, and the state Democratic Party boasts 100 staff organizers in the field.
Politico first reported on the disquiet among grassroots Pennsylvania Republicans on Thursday.
For instance, Michael Korns, the party's Westmoreland County chairman, told the news site that "the resources at our disposal are by far the worst I've ever seen ... at least in any presidential campaign."
Trump needs to turn a few Democratic-trending states like Pennsylvania from blue to red in order to have a viable path to the White House. His campaign believes his opposition to free-trade agreements and pro-coal stance will resonate in the state.
Urban, a Washington lobbyist who was chief aide to the late Sen. Arlen Specter, parachuted into Pennsylvania to help Trump in the weeks before his victory in the April primary.
Trump has often blasted lobbyists. If elected, "I will end the special-interest monopoly in Washington," he said in a speech last week. "The choice in this election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering, really, the last scrap of independence."
In 2005 and 2006, Urban earned $240,000 representing the now-defunct investment bank Lehman Bros., according to Senate records. Trump has blamed Lehman's 2008 failure for triggering the financial collapse.
Urban, a West Point alumnus and Army veteran, was recently named to Trump's delegate-wrangling team for the party's convention in Cleveland.
Christian, of Bucks County, led Pennsylvania efforts for the GOP ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, and has been a party strategist for two decades. He was executive director of the New Jersey GOP in the 1990s and is a lobbyist with Duane Morris Government Strategies in Philadelphia.