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Trump didn’t just launch his 2020 campaign — he’s been running for reelection for a year

He announced digital guru Brad Parscale will be his campaign manager.

President Trump Visits Equipment Manufacturing Plant In Pennsylvania Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Emily Stewart covered business and economics for Vox and wrote the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

Matt Drudge spent Tuesday morning teasing a “shock” announcement from President Donald Trump. It turned out to be that Trump is running for president again in 2020, even though his reelection campaign has been underway since the day he was sworn in. The new news is that Brad Parscale, who ran Trump’s digital strategy in 2016, has been named campaign manager.

Trump has been campaigning for 2020 since he arrived at the White House — in other words, Drudge’s big “shock” is a bit of a dud. He filed the paperwork for his reelection campaign the very same day he was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2017. He has been fundraising for the past year, bringing in millions of dollars, and he has held various campaign rallies all over the country.

Trump’s reelection campaign ended 2017 with $22 million in cash, having brought in $6.9 million in the fourth quarter of the year alone. Per FEC data, his campaign committee raised $32 million in 2017. His campaign committee and two fundraising committees that are joint operations with the Republican National Committee — Trump Victory and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee — raised a combined $52 million in 2017, according to the Washington Post.

A significant chunk of the reelection campaign’s money has gone to legal fees — according to the New York Times, about a quarter of it. The campaign has also been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to Parscale and his firm quarterly for digital advertising efforts.

Trump has also held a number of campaign-style rallies since arriving at the White House. He held a reelection rally in Florida a month into his presidency and has also held similar events in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Arizona, among other places. The campaign committee has also been running ads, including a January video spot that said Democrats are “complicit” in murders committed by undocumented immigrants.

Trump has kicked off reelection efforts unusually early compared to his predecessors. George W. Bush filed his paperwork in the spring of 2003 for his 2004 reelection campaign; Barack Obama filed in April 2011 for 2012.

In an announcement of the decision to tap Parscale as campaign manager, Trump’s son, Eric, described Parscale as an “amazing talent,” and his son-in-law and senior adviser at the White House, Jared Kushner, said his leadership and expertise will “help build a best-in-class campaign.”

Parscale has some interesting shoes to fill: Trump’s previous campaign managers include Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort (who was chair), and Steve Bannon.

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