The campaign manager for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is a veteran political operative who has generated controversy on multiple occasions during the primary race.
Corey Lewandowski, 42, was previously the national director of voter registration for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers.
Lewandowski is married to a former teacher, Alison Lewandowski.
While Trump has praised him for running a strong ground game and leading the campaign to victories in several states, he has faced criticism for two incidents where he was accused of getting physical with others. Former Breitbart.com reporter Michelle Fields accused Lewandowski of grabbing her by the arm after a press conference in Florida. She has filed a criminal complaint with police, but Lewandowski has said she is lying about the incident.
Jupiter Police charged Lewandowski with misdemeanor simple battery on March 29.
Lewandowski was also seen on video grabbing a protester by the collar during a Trump rally in Arizona. Despite the video evidence, Trump’s campaign has denied Lewandowski put his hands on the man during the March 19 rally.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lewandowski Was Born in Massachusetts & Ran for Office While in College
Lewandowski was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, attending Lowell Catholic High School. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 1995 with a degree in political science. He then earned a master’s degree in political science from American University in 1997.
According to the Lowell Sun, Lewandowski ran for state representative while he was still in colle
“He was such a natural,” former Massachusetts legislator Steve Panagiotakos told the newspaper. Lewandowski interned for Panagiotakos during college. “”Someone that really seemed to love it, love the debate, love the competition.”
2. He Got His Start in Politics by Working for Congressmen & Running a Senate Campaign
Lewandowski worked as the executive assistant and director of intern programs for U.S. Rep. Peter Torkildsen, a Massachusetts Republican, from 1996 to 1997, his first full-time job in politics, according to his Linkedin page.
He also worked as an administrative assistant to U.S. Rep. Robert Ney, of Ohio, from 1997 to 2001, and briefly as the RNC’s legislative political director for the northeast region in 2001. He then was the campaign manager and communications director for the campaign of U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, of New Hampshire.
After working for Smith, he became the executive director of the New England Seafood Producers Association from 2003 to 2004 and worked in public relations at the Boston-based communications firm Schwartz MSL from 2004 to 2012.
3. He Later Worked in Several Roles for the Koch-Backed Americans for Prosperity Organization
Lewandowski worked for Americans for Prosperity from 2008 to 2015, according to his Linkedin profile. From June 2008 to March 2014 he was the organization’s east coast regional director. He then became the national director of voter registration.
His time with Americans for Prosperity was not without controversy. According to The Daily Beast, the group was investigated for voter suppression in North Carolina while Lewandowski was running its voter registration efforts.
The website reports that several mailers sent out by the group contained inaccuracies and misinformation, leading to accusations that the organization was trying to discourage or intimidate voters from taking part in the 2014 election.
“Corey was kind of a cowboy, and he was fun,” a former co-worker told Politico. “He gave AFP a cool factor that we didn’t have, but there were some cultural problems.”
Politico uncovered incidents involving Lewandowski, including an allegation that he threatened to “blow up” the car of the organization’s chief financial officer over a late expense reimbursement check during the 2012 election cycle. Lewandowski denied that to Politico.
He also clashed with a female official who ran one of the states under Lewandowski’s control, including allegedly calling her a “c*nt” in front of other employees, according to Politico.
4. He Got the $20,000-a-Month Campaign Manager Job by Telling Trump He’d Work Harder Than Any Other Person
Lewandowski is paid $20,000 a month in his role as Trump’s campaign manager. He first met Trump in 2014 at an Americans for Prosperity event in New Hampshire.
He told the Wall Street Journal he earned the job during a meeting with Trump. “Are you better than all the campaign managers out there?,” Lewandowski recalled Trump asking him. He told the newspaper he replied, “I think I am, and I’ll work harder than any of them.”
Lewandowski told the Lowell Sun, “If you don’t have the chemistry, it’s not going to work out, obviously. It wasn’t something that was planned but it was something that has been really exciting. I look forward to being part of the team through the election.”
According to Politico, some close to Trump have complained about Lewandowski, but the billionaire has stuck by him because of the success they’ve had. Politico also reported that Lewandowski has been accused of making inappropriate and vulgar comments on the campaign trail, including toward female journalists, and has a history of having a short temper.
Lewandowski told the Lowell Sun that Trump’s style is liberating.
“He’s a very passionate man and he loves his country,” Lewandowski said. “He knows it’s in trouble and he wants to do something about it.”
5. He Lives With His Wife & Their 4 Children in New Hampshire
Corey Lewandowski lives with his wife, Alison, and their four young children in Windham, New Hampshire. They have three sons and a daughter between the ages of 4 and 9, according to the New Hampshire Business Review.
Lewandowski’s wife is also from Lowell, Massachusetts. Her first husband, Brian Kinney, died on 9/11, according to a Lowell Sun article. He was on United Airlines Flight 175 when it hit the World Trade Center. She is a former teacher in Lowell.
He said the work and life balance on the campaign trail has been difficult, but he told the New Hampshire Business Review that his wife understands.
“I mean, I’ve known my wife for 28 years, so this is not a new phenomenon. I’ve known her since she was in 8th grade and I was a freshman in high school,” Lewandowski said. “When you have a great support system at home, it makes your job a lot easier. While I know it’s difficult on her and the kids, they understand what we’re trying to accomplish here is very, very important for the future generations.”