INDIANAPOLIS – Anthony Weiner, meet Rex Early, who will not be your sexting partner. But the joke’s on you.
The explosive saga of 650,000 emails on Weiner’s laptop, including some apparently between Hillary Clinton and top aide Huma Abedin was a gift for Early, who chairs the Donald Trump Indiana presidential campaign. Last Friday, FBI Director James Comey alerted the world to the Weiner trove, even if it was ambiguous in its meaning and content. Early, the legendary Hoosier jokester, can hardly contain himself.
“What concerns me is we might have lost that Weiner voter,” Early cracked. HPI responded that perhaps a trip to Fort Wayne’s Coney Island Weiner Stand or, perhaps, Mr. Weenie in Peru might be in order. Clearly, Rex Early’s buns are not steamed.
For Early, it translates into momentum, a message that Gov. Mike Pence has been enunciating as he crisscrosses the nation. Meeting with Early and Trump campaign vice chair Tony Samuel and Suzie Jaworowski at the Antelope Club on Monday, Early was a human hot dog stand of Weiner quips. On the nearby TV monitor, Fox News broke into breaking news with fresh Monmouth Poll numbers from Indiana, where Trump had jetted out to an 11-point lead here after leading by only 5% in an October WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll.
“Thank you, Anthony Weiner,” Early cracked, not even trying to contain the obvious glee and irony. “I think Trump will win Indiana by at least 12%. I think he’ll go well over 12%. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve never seen people so pumped up about an election. If Trump gets on 10% plurality or more, he’ll help the governor and Senate race.”
It was a far cry from Adam Wren’s Oct. 19 Politico Magazine article that followed the trio to Pizza City in Terre Haute with the thrust of his story that female voters in bellwether Vigo County were abandoning Trump after the nominee’s battle with an overweight Miss Universe. The article caught the trio learning that gubernatorial nominee Eric Holcomb not committing to voting for Trump, something that Holcomb has definitely backtracked on. The Alicia Machado days seem a long way away from Importantville, Ind., these days. Early envisions a Trump/Pence victory next Tuesday. And then this: “If Trump wins, he loves Indiana.”
That much is clear. It was Indiana that put Trump over the top to clinch the presidential nomination with a 53% victory in the May 3 primary. It was former Indiana coaches Bob Knight, Gene Keady and Lou Holtz that gave him a good bit of thrust. It was Indiana that helped him forge the Trump ticket with Gov. Mike Pence.
“This is a movement,” Early said. “It’s not just Republicans. It’s a movement. He has a rally in Evansville and 25,000 people show up.”