Trump's Endorsement Record Is More Mixed Than It Looks

He had a 92% success rate, but many of his chosen candidates ran unopposed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2022 7:31 AM CDT
In Midterm Primaries, 92% of Trump-Backed Candidates Won
Former President Donald Trump gestures while playing golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Former President Trump's endorsement definitely carried weight in GOP primaries ahead of this year's midterm elections—he endorsed more than 200 candidates and 92% of them won, though many of them ran unopposed or against little-known opponents, the BBC reports. Trump generally favored incumbent GOP candidates and only one Trump-endorsed incumbent, scandal-plagued Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina, lost their primary. The former president sometimes waited until a front-runner had emerged before he made an endorsement, as in Michigan, where he waited until days before the election before he endorsed Tudor Dixon for governor, reports the Deseret News.

"He is clearly endorsing a number of people who are going to win anyway, so he can run up the percentage of victories. That's just a smart strategy to run the numbers up," GOP strategist Whit Ayres tells the BBC. "The endorsements make him the most prominent figure in the Republican party," he says. "And it increases his influence when Republicans are constantly asking for his endorsement." Trump's success rate was lower when he backed candidates running against incumbents—only six out of 10 won, but he did help to defeat four incumbents who supported his second impeachment, including Rep. Liz Cheney in Wisconsin, FiveThirtyEight reports.

The New York Times takes a state-by-state look at Trump's endorsement record. Trump-backed candidates swept Arizona, while notable losses included Sarah Palin's defeat in Alaska and losses for Trump-endorsed challengers to Georgia's governor and secretary of state. Trump's endorsement helped put several Senate candidates over the finish line, including Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and JD Vance in Ohio. This week saw the last primary contests of the year. Retired Gen. Don Bolduc, who supports Trump's election fraud claims, won the GOP Senate primary in New Hampshire. Trump didn't endorse a candidate in that race but he praised wins for the "Trumpiest" candidates in a Truth Social post. (More Election 2022 stories.)

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