Since his days mixing it up inside the home-state GOP, Blackwell has taken on an increasingly visible national role. He serves on the boards of the National Rifle Association and conservative Club for Growth. He's also a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, whose evangelical president Tony Perkins advocated for Trump's election.
Blackwell ran unsuccessfully for chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009.
As Ohio's state elections chief, Blackwell played a pivotal role in administering the 2004 presidential election even as he served as Republican George W. Bush's honorary campaign co-chairman. Democrats alleged in political attacks and lawsuits that Blackwell supported vote-suppressing policies favoring Bush, who won the state and the election. Blackwell ultimately prevailed in court.