Former president Donald Trump flexed his political influence in this year’s Republican primaries, backing his favored candidates in hotly contested statewide and congressional races. While the large majority of Trump’s endorsees — of whom most were incumbents — won their primaries, about 1 in 5 nonincumbents he backed lost.
Trump’s win rate among nonincumbents so far: 0%
The races presented a test of whether Trump’s influence on Republican voters has waned nearly two years after he lost the presidency.
“While Trump’s endorsement failed in some of the highest-profile, most competitive races, his vision for the party won resoundingly,” The Post’s Aaron Blake wrote Wednesday.
His U.S. Senate picks all advanced
Republicans need to flip only one Senate seat to take the majority in the evenly divided chamber. Trump’s nearly two dozen Senate candidates all made the ballot, some by narrow margins.
Trump-endorsed Mehmet Oz eked out at win after the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania went to a recount. Trump had originally backed Sean Parnell in that race, but Parnell dropped out after allegations of domestic and other abuse. In Ohio’s crowded primary race, Trump’s own advisers tried to dissuade him from endorsing J.D. Vance, whose campaign was lagging in the polls until the former president intervened. Vance went on to win the nomination.
Trump dropped his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, accusing the strong Trump supporter of making a “horrible mistake” by abandoning talk of the 2020 election. Brooks had struggled to win support despite Trump’s initial backing.
In Alaska, Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka (R) was one of four candidates to advance to the ranked-choice general election alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial.
He exacted revenge for House impeachment votes
In the House, Trump’s endorsements were about rewarding loyalty and settling scores. He endorsed a primary challenger against all but one House Republican — Rep. David G. Valadao (Calif.) — who voted in favor of his impeachment last year. Reps. Tom Rice (S.C.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.) and Liz Cheney (Wyo.) lost their primaries to Trump-backed challengers.
One incumbent did not win: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), a freshman congressman, was endorsed by the former president — but it was not enough to overcome a widespread Republican campaign to take him down. Another Trump endorsee, Morgan Ortagus, was kicked off the primary ballot by the Tennessee Republican Party in April.
Trump boosted his overall record with some choices: Nearly 74 percent of the candidates Trump endorsed were incumbents, who hold a significant electoral advantage. He also released many endorsements in noncompetitive races days ahead of the primaries.
He missed in all but one of Georgia’s statewide races
Overall, Trump’s endorsements for state-level offices such as governor and secretary of state are his most clear effort to punish officials he wrongly believes delivered the 2020 election to Joe Biden. His endorsement of a candidate is most often tied to their efforts to confirm election fraud in states he continues to falsely claim were stolen from him.
That was especially so in Georgia. Trump failed to back winners in statewide races for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and insurance commissioner.
Trump’s first loss in the midterms came in mid-May as agribusiness executive Charles Herbster, who has been accused of sexually assaulting multiple women, failed to win the nomination for Nebraska governor.
Full list of Trump’s endorsees
|Attorney general||Mich.||Won||August 27|
|Sec. of state||Mich.||Won||August 27|
|Attorney general||Fla.||Won||August 23|
|Chief financial officer||Fla.||Won||August 23|