The image of Donald Trump as GOP king was this tarnished by several high-profile electoral defeats earlier this year, however Tuesday’s primary in states like Arizona have returned the former president to his Republican glory.
In Arizona, 11 of 12 Trump-endorsed candidates won primaries for US Senate, Secretary of State, Congress, state House and state Senate. (Trump’s pick for governor is leading the race, which remains too close to call in the battlefield state.)
All of those candidates embraced Trump’s false claims about the stolen 2020 election. elections.
Arizona’s gains were a stark contrast to the Georgia primary in May, when most of Trump’s main candidates lost in a swing where they tried to oust a local governor and secretary of state who refused to help Trump in his bid to repeal the 2020 campaign. election results.
While Arizona illustrated Trump’s influence on the GOP, it wasn’t the only state primary that showed its power Tuesday. His preferred candidates dominated in Missouri and Kansas, as well as Michigan, where one of the 10 members of Congress who voted for his second impeachment was defeated by a Trump-backed challenger.
“Trump is still an 800-pound gorilla,” said Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman and GOP consultant. “He has a lot of influence.”
With just a dozen state primaries remaining, 188 Trump-backed candidates have won primaries during his presidency, 14 have lost, two have dropped out or been disqualified before their races, 26 are awaiting their primaries and two are in races that have yet to be concluded. called, according to his staff and statistics compiled by Ballotpedia.
Trump has improved his approval ratings by supporting a number of incumbents with minimal opposition, but his obsessive presence in every race and the level of candidates bowing out for his support, as well as the difference it has made in some races, such as OhioArizona and Michigan — making him unique among past presidents.
Trump’s record also suggests that while he may be hurt by a series of investigations into him, the former president currently appears likely to secure the GOP presidential nomination should he run again in 2024.
But Trump’s endorsement isn’t so magical as to lift an unelectable candidate, nor are Republicans calling for Trump to run again; polls show him with about half the hypothetical vote in the crowded Republican presidential primary, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with about half Trump’s support.
Sean Noble, an Arizona Republican consultant, said there’s no doubt that “we’re in uncharted territory where a former president has this level of control over the party. It’s more his party than anything else. Obviously, his approval is more important than anyone else’s.
But, he said, Republicans worry that Trump might decide to announce his re-election bid before the midterms, making him more of a campaign issue that could turn off independent voters who are critical to winning elections in swing states.
Democrats agree that Mr. Trump’s influence is unique, but they say he and the candidates he endorses don’t belong in swing states like Arizona and Michigan.
“Trump’s endorsement slate in Arizona is the most extreme we’ve seen, and the word is too tame,” said top Arizona Democratic consultant DJ Quinlan, referring to gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Senate candidate Blake Masters and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, hot election denier like a lake
But Quinlan said Democrats are “handing against the wind” and they shouldn’t underestimate the energy that Republicans, especially Lake and Trump, can muster.
In another swing state the former president lost in 2020, Michigan, Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon won his primary on Tuesday, but began to contradict their claims that the election was stolen. (Trump’s pick for secretary of state and attorney general in Michigan is also there election deniers(but they secured their party’s nominations at the GOP convention, not in Tuesday’s primary.)
Still, Trump’s record was not without flaws on Tuesday. In Washington, GOP Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, who both voted to impeach Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 riots, are leading their respective Trump-backed challengers.
Of the 10 Republicans who are in favor of impeachment, six have decided not to run again, and only one has so far passed the primary, Rep. David Valadao of California. Like the Newhouse and Beutler races, Valadao’s race was a so-called “jungle primary” with every candidate from every party, rather than a partisan primary.
Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer paid for his impeachment vote by losing his election to Trump-backed John Gibbs on Tuesday.
“It shows that there’s not a lot of appetite among Republican voters to support Republicans who are anti-Trump,” said Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist and former Trump White House official.
“I would describe what happened in Arizona and Michigan as the anti-Georgia. “Last night proves that the media narrative from Georgia that Trump is losing his influence was completely wrong,” he said. “Local factors were at work in Georgia – the quality of the candidate more than anything else.” The primary results since then have clearly demonstrated Trump’s unique power and approval ratings.
But Democrats see no staying power with these endorsements.
Pamela Pugh, a Democrat who serves on the Michigan State Board of Education, echoed the sentiments of other swing state Democrats, predicting that Trump’s involvement and the extremist nature of some of his picks will hurt Republicans in November.
“Democrats are ready to fight,” Pugh said.