Stepien, a onetime aide to former New Jersey governor 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 did not vote in 2016.
He was not 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 voted by absentee ballot in Florida this year, has repeatedly attacked voting by mail, claiming without evidence that it is susceptible to widespread fraud and corruption. The president has encouraged people to vote in person amid the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that their vote is counted, even suggesting that they try to vote once by mail and once at their polling place, which is illegal.
Despite Trump’s antagonism against widespread voting by mail, at least 16 top Trump officials regularly vote that way, including Vice President Pence, Attorney General William P. 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. Stepien’s predecessor, Brad Parscale, who was demoted as Trump’s campaign manager in July, voted in the 2016 primary, but did not vote in the general, CBS News reported in June. In a statement, Parscale gave a similar reason as Stepien, claiming that he had trouble obtaining a ballot and then missed the deadline.
Stepien, who was fired by Christie in 2014 amid the Bridgegate scandal, joined Trump’s campaign in its final months to oversee field operations and help strategize which states to target to turn out voters.
New Jersey, where Stepien would have voted in 2016, was not one of the states targeted, as it reliably votes Democratic in presidential elections.
Alice Crites contributed to this report.