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Breaking: See How Trump-inspired big donors plan their own campaigns

At least a half-dozen major Trump patrons are preparing possible campaigns modeled on Trump’s outsider, business-oriented mantra.

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Gary Rabine has plowed cash into the pro-Donald Trump organization Turning Point USA, shelled out thousands of dollars to the former president’s reelection campaign and raised big bucks with Donald Trump Jr.

Now, Rabine is striking out on his own — and plotting a run for Illinois governor.

Like Trump, Rabine, the owner of a concrete and asphalt paving company, presents himself as a successful executive and political newcomer who can turbocharge an ailing economy. Like the former president, he rips what he describes as a damaging crackdown on policing and an over-the-top coronavirus shutdown that has closed schools and devastated his state. And like Trump, Rabine blasts “corrupt” politics that he says has made Illinois “the laughingstock of America.”

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Rabine is one of more than a half-dozen wealthy Trump patrons who are preparing potential bids for statewide office, a glut that underscores how the Trump profile — a wealthy and hard-charging political outsider — is living on through candidates who are cut from similar cloth.

Rabine stressed that there were distinctions between him and Trump, but he also pointed to their shared focus on the economy as a critical parallel.

“I believe he does know how to create jobs and opportunity, and I know I do, too. That’s the most common thing, I think, and that’s why I embrace Trump as the leader of our country,” he said.

In Ohio, investment banker Mike Gibbons is weighing a run for the state’s newly open Senate seat or a primary challenge against Gov. Mike DeWine, one of several Republicans who Trump targeted in the aftermath of his election loss.

Gibbons, who waged an unsuccessful 2018 Senate campaign, doled out more than a half-million dollars to pro-Trump causes during the 2020 election. He single-handedly bankrolled an outside group, Ohio Strong Action, which bolstered Trump and other Republican candidates.

Gibbons senior adviser Andrew Boucher described the would-be candidate as an outside-the-system figure who “firmly believes that we need more businessmen involved in politics,” is “willing to be blunt when it’s time to be blunt,” and “doesn’t owe anyone any favors.”

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