President Donald Trump’s campaign manager didn’t vote for his boss in the last presidential election. He didn’t vote at all. The last time Bill Stepien voted, according to public records, was 2015 when he lived in New Jersey and was registered there.
Stepien registered to vote in Washington, D.C., where he’s been living since 2017, at the end of July – two weeks after he was tapped to take over Trump’s reelection bid.
Stepien, a onetime aide to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R, first joined Trump’s team in August 2016. A senior campaign official said Stepien requested an absentee ballot that never arrived, so he didn’t vote in 2016.
He wasn’t registered in either New Jersey or Washington to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.
Neither Stepien nor a campaign spokesman responded to further questions about his voting record, including whether he made additional efforts to obtain a ballot or considered voting in person to support Trump.
Trump, who this year voted by absentee ballot in Florida, repeatedly has attacked voting by mail, claiming without evidence that it is susceptible to widespread fraud and corruption. He has encouraged people to vote in person amid the coronavirus pandemic to ensure their vote is counted, even suggesting they try to vote once by mail and once at their polling place, which is illegal.
Despite Trump’s antagonism to widespread voting by mail, at least 16 top Trump officials regularly vote that way, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Stepien, however, appears to be the first high-level aide not to have voted in the 2016 GOP primary or presidential election when Trump was on the ballot.
Christie fired Stepien in 2014 amid the Bridgegate scandal. Christie had ordered most lanes closed on the George Washington Bridge, the nation’s busiest, to Fort Lee, N.J., to punish the city’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie’s reelection bid. The Supreme Court in May overturned the fraud convictions of two Christie aides in the scandal.
Stepien joined Trump’s campaign in its final months to oversee field operations and help strategize which states to target.
New Jersey, where Stepien would have voted in 2016, was not one of them as it reliably votes Democratic in presidential elections.