In 1988, when Kellyanne Fitzpatrick applied for an internship at a major Republican polling firm, three things stood out on her résumé.
“No. 1, she was Phi Beta Kappa,” recalls pollster Neil Newhouse. “No. 2, she had been Miss Teenage New Jersey. And the most impressive, No. 3, she was some kind of blueberry packing champion. We said, ‘We’ve got to at least interview her.’ ”
Needless to say, Ms. Fitzpatrick – now known as Kellyanne Conway – got the internship. Thus was launched her successful career as a pollster who specializes in understanding women voters and consumers. And now she has embarked on her highest-profile job yet: Trump whisperer.
Ms. Conway’s new job title is “campaign manager,” but she’s really a “candidate manager” – and that’s the key role, Mr. Newhouse says.
“She going to be the face, she’s going to be the one who softens him up and helps him make inroads with affluent suburban voters, particularly married women and white college-educated voters,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.
“So from that perspective, yes, she is a bigger deal. Because he can’t win, at least as the numbers line up right now, with white working-class voters alone. He has to make inroads into the suburbs.”