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Rodimer at a Nevada event in 2020. ( (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A Texas congressional candidate is drawing Team Trump's ire with ads designed to falsely imply the ex-president's backing.

Why it matters: Donald Trump endorsements are the hottest commodity in Republican politics right now, and candidates are going to extreme lengths to court his support. But there's no quicker way to irk Trump than freeloading on his brand.

What's happening: "Big Dan" Rodimer, a former professional wrestler, is one of 23 candidates in a special election in Texas' sixth district. With less than two weeks to go in that contest, he's running ads that imply (without directly saying) that he has Trump's backing.

  • “Our campaign is the only one that has ever been endorsed by President Trump in this race," Rodimer declared in a statement this week.
  • His campaign has been running a host of digital ads making a nearly identical claim and calling Rodimer "the Trump candidate."

Between the lines: Trump did endorse Rodimer when he ran for a House seat in Nevada last year. But he has not backed a candidate in the Texas's special election.

What they're saying: After Axios reached out to Team Trump about those ads, spokesperson Jason Miller posted this on Twitter:

  • "🚨 Important Note 🚨," Miller tweeted. "President Trump has NOT yet endorsed a candidate in TX-6. This is a very strong pro-Trump district and President Trump is the most powerful endorsement in all of politics, but he has not yet weighed in."
  • The Rodimer campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The bottom line: Trump is famously protective of his brand — and averse to anyone trying to benefit from it without his authorization. Two sources close to the former president uniformly panned the Rodimer ads.

  • “It’s not a smart move to imply you have President Trump’s endorsement in a race when you don’t have it,” one said.
  • "The consultants who recommend their clients engage in these sorts of activities aren't doing their clients any favors with Trump, Trump's family, or anyone in Trump's orbit," said the other.

Go deeper

World leaders brace for historic Trump Facebook ban decision

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The upcoming decision from Facebook’s independent Oversight Board on whether to uphold or reverse Facebook’s indefinite suspension of former President Trump’s profiles has policymakers on edge.

Why it matters: The decision will set a historic precedent for how the tech giant treats accounts of world leaders, and could be a litmus test for the board’s power.

Scoop: Chris Christie friends believe he's running in 2024

Chris Christie at the White House in 2020. Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seriously considering running for president in 2024, three people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.

Driving the news: While Christie isn't saying anything publicly about his thinking — besides telling radio host Hugh Hewitt he's not ruling it out — people close to him have an early sense of the rationale and outlines of a potential candidacy.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 mins ago - Technology

Windows goes to 11

Screenshot: Axios

Microsoft on Thursday offered a first look at the next version of Windows, dubbed Windows 11, which is coming this holiday season. The new version changes both the look of the operating system as well as the underlying business model.

Why it matters: Windows has been steadily losing market share on the desktop, which has itself lost prominence to smartphones.