World-renowned performance artist Donald Trump's ongoing piece, titled "What If Pat Buchanan Was a Billionaire and Had a Queens Accent," continued Friday with his announcement that he's hired state campaign directors in three states that are not among those with the earliest GOP nominating contests. Included in those hires is Corbin Casteel, a Texas Republican operative based in Austin.
"We are in this to win it," Trump said in a statement released Friday morning. "These staff additions are the continuation of our plan to have a strategic and significant presence across the country."
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Casteel is among the first state directors hired by any Republican candidate in a state that isn't Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada — the first four states to hold caucuses or primaries and signals that Trump may indeed be willing to continue his project long enough to accrue actual votes and delegates in addition to media attention. The Texas primary is scheduled for March 1 and will award the biggest pile of delegates in that day's Super Tuesday primaries.
To this point, there's been relatively little polling of Texas GOP voters, but numbers released Thursday as part of Texas Lyceum's annual survey show that Trump is being viewed as less than a joke by Lone Star Republicans. As of this summer, the same couldn't be said for Casteel, who seemed to take his new boss' campaign less than seriously during an interview with the San Antonio Express-News in August.
"I don't know of anyone in the party who looks at him like a fellow Republican. He's an entertainer," Casteel said. "I believe it's a universal view that Donald Trump is a joke."
Trump leads the survey with 21 percent of respondents who indicated they would vote in Texas GOP primary saying Trump is their first choice. Texas' junior senator, Ted Cruz, polled second, at 16 percent. Among Texas Democrats, Hillary Clinton was the preferred option at 36 percent, followed by Vermont's Bernie Sanders at 24 percent and Vice President Joe Biden — who still hasn't announced whether he intends to run — at 15 percent.