Donald Trump plans to name veteran Republican operative David Urban as senior adviser for Pennsylvania and Ted Christian as state director, sources close to the real-estate mogul's campaign said Wednesday.
The state has emerged as a critical target for Trump, whose message could resonate with working-class voters. The businessman needs to turn a few Democratic-trending states like Pennsylvania from blue to red in order to have a viable electoral-college path to the White House.
And the appointments come as some state Republicans complain about a lack of get-out-the-vote troops from the Trump campaign and the national party.
Urban, a Washington lobbyist who was chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter, parachuted into Pennsylvania to help Trump in the final weeks before the April primary.
Recently the campaign named Urban, a West Point alum and Army veteran, deputy director of caucus operations in Cleveland. The team's jobs include integrating the campaign with the Republican National Committee organizers of the convention, as well as delegate wrangling. Campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has made it a priority to tamp down a simmering rebellion from disaffected delegates who want to change the rules to allow a wide open vote – with the goal of denying Trump the nomination.
Christian, of Bucks County, was Pennsylvania state director for the GOP ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, and has been an active party strategist for two decades. He was executive director of the New Jersey Republican Party in the late 1990s, and now is a lobbyist with the Duane Morris Government Strategies, in the firm's Philadelphia office.