Tying up loose ends, I find that Kristi Noem’s former campaign manager is now working in Pennsylvania. Joe Desilets, whom Noem brought from out of state to run her campaign last November but who disappeared from the South Dakota scene in April after a rumored firing, now runs Jim Bognet’s campaign for U.S. House in Pennsylvania’s 8th District, around Scranton. Among other things, Desilets has helped the former Trump official Bognet play the new “What, Me Trumpy?” game:
Trump once formed a central part of Bognet’s biography, appearing 11 times on his “Meet Jim” page. (The word “Jim” appeared 14 times.) The page was like this until at least May 9, according to internet archives.
In the current version, Bognet still expresses his appreciation for serving in the Trump administration, but the word “Trump” now appears just two times. It’s been significantly toned down and made less partisan as Bognet moves into general election mode.
Bognet spokesman Joe Desilets insisted that there was no attempt to focus on removing Trump mentions from the site.
“You might also notice that Jim’s entire website was rebuilt and redesigned (I did it myself when I took over the campaign this summer),” he told HuffPost [Amanda Terkel, “With Primaries Over, GOP Candidate Tones Down Pro-Trump Rhetoric on Campaign Site,” HuffPost, 2022.08.25].
Desilets may find managing Bognet’s campaign easier than managing Noem’s, since he doesn’t have to build a campaign around his candidate’s actual record of failure and corruption in the office sought.
Bognet is running against five-term Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright, who beat Bognet by 3.6 percentage points in 2020. Before working in the Trump Administration, Bognet worked for Glover Park Group, a firm that lobbied to prevent Americans from suing Saudi Arabia for its involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bognet was working to protect Saudi immunity at the same time as Iowa lobbyist and South Dakota GOP boss Dan Lederman (who, while Bognet’s old firm backed away from Saudi cash after Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s hit on Jamal Kashoggi in 2018, has continued to make bank acting as an agent of the Saudi regime).