NEW YORK (AP) — A top associate to billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump is heading to Iowa next week to promote a potential presidential bid by Trump, who has said he would campaign in the state if he decides to seek the Republican nomination.
Michael Cohen, a vice president and counsel to the Trump Organization, told The Associated Press that he planned to fly to Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday to meet with top GOP lawmakers, operatives and volunteers. Iowa is to host the first presidential caucus, scheduled for Feb. 6, 2012.
“I’ll be gauging the reception I feel he would have when he comes to Iowa,” Cohen said.
Trump told reporters in Iowa this week that he would campaign hard in the state if he decides to enter the GOP field.
“I will meet many, many people, maybe all of the people” in Iowa, Trump told The Des Moines Register. “If I decide to run, I will be shaking hands with everybody.”
Trump has said he would decide by June whether he’ll run.
Cohen is a cofounder of Should Trump Run, a website formed to boost interest and grass-roots support for a Trump candidacy. Cohen and Stewart Rahr, founder of the pharmaceutical giant Kinray, launched the site to prod Trump to get in the race.
“The man has proven experience, he is one of the richest men in the world, he has the most prolific name on the planet, and his negotiation skills are second to none,” Cohen said of Trump. “We really believe we need someone to take over our country like a business and restore hope.”
Cohen said Trump has no connection to Should Trump Run.
The field of potential Republican challengers to President Barack Obama has only begun to take shape even though the early nominating contests are set to begin in less than a year. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich launched a campaign website this week and signaled he was likely to run, the first major GOP candidate to formally do so.