Republican gubernatorial hopeful Geoff Diehl, who served as the honorary state co-chair of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, is leaning hard on the former president’s brand as he aims for the governor’s office, announcing Tuesday that longtime Trump confidante and former adviser Corey Lewandowski has joined his campaign.
Diehl’s campaign announced Wednesday that Lewandowski, a Lowell native with a controversial track record, joined the campaign in January.
In a statement, Diehl called Lewandowski “a key advisor to have in running this campaign.”
“I am pleased to have Corey on the team and honored that he believes in this campaign,” he said.
Lewandowski made headlines last year when he was fired from his job overseeing a super PAC supporting the former president after a donor alleged that he made unwanted sexual advances at a Las Vegas fund-raiser in September.
Shortly after the Las Vegas incident, South Dakota Governor Kristi L. Noem cut ties with Lewandowski, who worked to raise her profile within conservative circles.
After the announcement Tuesday, Democratic candidate for governor Attorney General Maura Healey denounced the Diehl campaign’s decision.
“With Corey Lewandowski in the fold, it is even clearer that Mr. Diehl’s agenda is fueled by hate and division, and will take us backwards on climate, equality, racial justice, and economic growth,” Healey said in a statement.
Neither Danielle Allen nor state Senator Sonia Chang Diaz, both Democrats running for governor, immediately responded to requests for comment.
When asked to respond to the allegations made about Lewandowski, Diehl defended his choice.
“Corey has brought his political expertise to this race, and I could not be more pleased with him joining the team,” he wrote in a statement. “His experience on the national stage brings a great perspective to Massachusetts politics.”
In a statement, Lewandowski also shrugged off the criticism.
“I have witnessed the attacks from the left and the media firsthand,” he said. “Instead of focusing on the failed policies of the Biden administration, they have chosen to attack me — nothing new there.”
The Diehl campaign Tuesday also announced former state committeewoman Amanda Orlando as campaign manager; former NFL player Fred Smerlas and his wife, Kristy Smerlas as fund-raising co-chairs; and former Boston television producer Peggy Rose as a spokeswoman.
Samantha J. Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross.