The President-elect spent part of his day Thursday dialing Ohio Republicans in the hopes of swaying their decision in Friday's vote for Ohio Republican Party chairman, according to a source familiar with the calls.
Matt Borges, the current GOP chairman who was critical of Trump at times during the presidential campaign, is facing a challenge from prominent GOP donor Jane Timken. She's billed herself as the Trump-esque Republican in the race and drawn support from Bob Paduchik, who ran Trump's successful campaign trouncing Hillary Clinton in Ohio.
The 66 elected members of the Ohio GOP's state central committee are slated to vote Friday morning -- and Trump is working the phones.
Greg Simpson, a 66-year-old member of the state central committee, thought he was in for a pre-recorded message when his phone rang Thursday afternoon and a young woman said she was calling on behalf of Trump.
"She said, 'Mr. Trump would like to have a few words with you.' At first I thought it was a recording, but it was him," Simpson said in a phone interview, chuckling as he recounted the conversation.
"To be honest with you, I never thought that would happen in a million years," Simpson said, adding that he -- with Trump's permission -- put the incoming president on speakerphone for his colleagues to hear. "Everybody was like, 'Are you kidding me?' I was really surprised."
A message left with the Trump transition team was not immediately returned.
While Trump didn't offer up any disparaging words about Borges, he encouraged Simpson to vote for Timken and said it was time for a change in the state party leadership, Simpson said.
Their exchange about the vote lasted 30 to 45 seconds. For the next four and a half minutes, they talked about everything else.
"After that we talked about trucking and we talked about infrastructure and we talked about trade and (the North American Free Trade Agreement)," said Simpson, who owns Key Transportation, an Ohio trucking company.
Despite the call, Simpson -- who voted for Trump for president -- said he's still likely to back Borges over Trump's pick in the battle for chairman.
"The man did what he was supposed to do, which was get Republicans elected," Simpson said of Borges.
Still, Simpson was clearly tickled by the personal attention from the President-elect.
"At the very end I said 'I can't thank you enough for the phone call, I'm very flattered,'" Simpson said. "He told me to give him a call whenever I need, which I would never do because he's a busy man."