The Corner

John Bolton Plays in Primaries

Former Ambassador John Bolton is getting involved in Republican primaries for the first time, endorsing a trio of candidates across the country before a trip to South Carolina.

Bolton is endorsing Senator David Vitter (R., La.) in his upcoming gubernatorial bid, Representative Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), and Paul Chabot, a Republican congressional candidate who lost narrowly to Representative Pete Aguilar (D., Calif.) in 2014. Bolton’s PAC is also donating $10,000 to DeSantis’ campaign, $10,000 to Vitter’s campaign, and $5,000 to Chabot’s campaign.

“Bolton is committed to supporting candidates for elected office who believe in protecting the United States’ vital freedoms at home by securing American interests in a challenging world,” his PAC said in a press release.

The endorsements are another indication of Bolton’s emergence from the political wilderness that many George W. Bush administration officials found themselves in when President Obama won the White House. Where Bolton’s association with Bush was once a liability during campaign season, the emergence of national security as a top priority has rendered him an elder statesman of the GOP, even within the Tea Party, when it comes to foreign policy. 

“During the 2014 election cycle the Bolton PAC and SuperPAC collectively raised over $7.5 million, endorsed 87 Republican candidates across the country and contributed more than $470,000 to candidates who demonstrated commitment to strong national security policy,” his PAC notes.

In February, Bolton discussed 2016 strategy with Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) over dinner. On Saturday, he’ll attend a national security summit in South Carolina featuring several prospective Republican presidential candidates.


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