Trump prepares ground for run against Obama in 2012
Donald Trump, the billionaire property mogul, is shoring up support for a 2012 presidential run after sending an aide to the key election state of Iowa.
Michael Cohen, executive vice-president at the Trump Organisation, flew to Des Moines, the state capital, yesterday where the first votes in the contest for the Republican nomination will be cast on February 6 next year. He said he would see about a dozen "leading GOP [Grand Old Party, the Republicans' nickname] representatives" during the trip. The Iowa caucuses are the traditional testing ground for candidates trying to secure their party's White House nomination.
"I'll be meeting with significant people in Iowa, including large donors," Mr Cohen said. "I'm gauging the reception Mr Trump would have. In June, when he hopefully decides to run, I'll be able to turn the information over to him."
The Republican establishment is deeply sceptical about Mr Trump's seriousness and senior figures note that the new season of his 'Celebrity Apprentice' show was due to begin last night.
In 2000, Mr Trump made a similar show of considering a presidential run and nothing came of it. Early polling, however, would suggest that he should be considered a serious candidate. A poll by 'The Wall Street Journal' and NCB television network found that Mr Trump (64) was ahead of Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, who are both regarded as potential nominees.
In the survey, 9pc were "very positive" about Mr Trump standing and 17pc "somewhat positive", making a total of 26pc ready to support him. Mr Romney had a combined 25pc while Mr Pawlenty had only 10pc. (© Daily Telegraph, London)