After the conclusion of the first Republican U.S. Senate candidate forum in Lakewood on Tuesday, real estate developer and former Fort Collins City Council member Gino Campana said he’s “kept in touch” with Trump officials and would “absolutely” accept the former president’s endorsement.
In November of 2020, after Trump had already lost the 2020 presidential election, Campana was nominated by Trump to chair the Public Buildings Reform Board, a federal agency created in 2016 to sell federal buildings that are un- or under-used.
After the forum, Campana confirmed that he is still in touch with Trump.
“Yes we have kept in touch with his team,” Campana told the Colorado Times Recorder.
When asked if he would accept an endorsement from Trump, Campana said he absolutely would.
“If the former President of the United States gave me an endorsement, I would absolutely accept it,” Campana said. “The most important endorsement to me is an endorsement from the people of Colorado.”
Campana has multiple connections to Trump. Six of the seven people who have endorsed Campana, according to his website, have worked for Trump in some capacity. The one who hasn’t is former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-CO), whose last year in Congress was 2003.
In addition, two of Campana’s daughters worked in the Trump administration and co-wrote The 1776 Report, the administration’s response to The 1619 Project. Alexandra Campana, one of Gino Campana’s daughters, now works for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a non-profit D.C. policy group staffed with ex-Trump officials.
Four of Gino Campana’s seven endorsements are also listed in the AFPI’s employee directory. They are:
- Keith Kellogg, former national security advisor to Trump, is now the co-chair of the AFPI’s Center for American Security;
- David Bernhardt, former U.S. secretary of the interior under Trump, is now the chair of the AFPI’s Center for American Freedom;
- Phil Bryant, former governor of Mississippi who worked for Trump’s 2020 campaign, is now a senior advisor to the AFPI;
- and Chad Wolf, nominated by Trump to be the U.S. secretary of homeland security, is now the chair of the AFPI’s Center for Homeland Security.
Campana is not the only U.S. Senate candidate running to represent the Republican Party in the race to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) with connections to Trump.
Former El Paso County GOP chair Eli Bremer worked for Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and has bragged about supporting Trump “before it was cool.”
Political experts in Colorado have said that connections to Trump might help Republican candidates get through the party primary, but could hurt them in the general election.
Gino Campana also said to radio host Jimmy Lakey on 600 KCOL that he talks with Alveda King, currently the chair of the AFPI’s Center for the American Dream, and to the Jefferson County Men’s GOP Club that former football coach Lou Holtz, currently the chair of the AFPI’s Center for 1776, gives him advice on his campaign. Both appearances were in December 2020.
Despite Campana’s connections to Trump, Campana has never donated to either of Trump’s presidential campaigns. According to FEC filings and Colorado Secretary of State data, Campana has donated nearly $10,000 to Republicans nationally and in Colorado since 2000. None of those donations have gone to Trump.
Campana did donate to former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer’s campaign for U.S. senate in 2004. Schaffer, as previously mentioned in this piece, endorsed Campana earlier this year.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Jan. 18 to include Campana’s campaign contribution history.