The Power of the Trump Endorsement: Myth or Magic?
The Power of the Trump Endorsement: Myth or Magic?

By Patricia Tolson

News Analysis

Several polling outlets are predicting that Republicans will take control of both the House and possibly the Senate in the 2022 primaries. While some individuals are attributing the GOPs pending 2022 primary success to the power gained by candidates backed by Donald Trump, others say the former president’s endorsements will have little effect.

As noted by FiveThirtyEight, “One of the most ironclad rules in American politics is that the party of the president in office always loses ground in midterm elections.”

In the meantime, a series of polls between July 5-25 show the job approval rating for President Joe Biden is consistently flailing between 33 percent and 45 percent. More drastic are the polls between June 12 and July 25 showing that anywhere between 70 percent to 87 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Between June 28 and July 26, polls showed 52 to 68 percent of those surveyed disapprove of Biden’s handing of the economy. On foreign policy, 52 to 61 percent disapprove of Biden’s job performance, and anywhere from 52 and 63 percent disapprove of Biden’s handing of the immigration crisis.

Trump Endorsements: Wins vs. Losses

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at The Farm at 95 in Selma, N.C., on April 9, 2022. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

An analysis of wins verses losses for Trump-backed candidates as of July 25 by Ballot Pedia shows the overwhelming majority of Trump’s anointed candidates going on to win their respective elections.

Of the 19 gubernatorial candidates for 2022 elections, 10 have won their primaries. Only three have lost. The remaining six are pending.

Of the 132 candidates backed by Trump running for seats in the U.S. House—consisting mostly of incumbents—95 have won their primaries, two have advanced to a runoff, one was removed, and another withdrew before the primary, 30 are pending and two primaries were cancelled. Only four Trump-backed candidates have lost their primaries.

In 22 state executive races, 12 have won, two advanced to a runoff, and seven primaries are still pending. Only three have lost.

For 24 state House and Senate races, six have already won their primaries and two advanced to a runoff. The rest are pending.

Broken down to the 23 races in the all-important battleground states—17 U.S. House races, four in the U.S. Senate, two gubernatorial races, and one race each for Attorney General and Supreme Court—21 have won their primaries and on advanced to a runoff. Only two have lost.

Of the 20 endorsements for U.S. Senate seats, 13 have won their primaries, one advanced to a runoff, one withdrew before the primary and the remaining six are pending.

The Trump Impeachment Vote

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) the president pro tempore of the Senate, who is presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 26, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

Polling also shows that of the Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, 10 in all are facing strong headwinds of rejection. The ten Republican representatives include:

  1. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.)
  2. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
  3. Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)
  4. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)
  5. Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.)
  6. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.)
  7. Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.)
  8. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
  9. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio)
  10. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)

Of those 10, three have decided not to run for reelection this year: Katko, Kinzinger, and Gonzolez. The other seven, now facing Trump-endorsed primary challengers, appear to be suffering the consequences of that decision.

The Repercussions

Six-term Herrera is suddenly facing stiff competition from two Republican challengers, Trump-endorsed Joe Kent and a second pro-Trump candidate, Heidi St. John. The latest poll (pdf) shows Kent with a six point advantage.

Incumbent Newhouse, who has held his seat since 2015 and handily won re-election in 2020, is facing six Republican challengers in the Washington primary and much fallout because of his impeachment vote. His greatest challenge is Trump-backed candidate Loren Culp. While a Dec. 9 to 11 survey showed Culp ahead of Newhouse by almost seven points, the crowded field appears to have drained some of his momentum.

Valadao, described as “one of the most endangered Republican congressional incumbents in the nation,” managed to survive his California primary and will advance to the November ballot.

In the race to represent Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, Trump-backed John Gibbs currently leads Meijer by a stunning 18 points,  46.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

In South Carolina, Trump-endorsed candidate Rep. Russell Fry leads Rice by double digits, 42.4 percent to 24.9 percent.

The one that seems to be suffering the most from the decision to support Trump’s impeachment is Cheney.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) (C) speaks during a January 6 committee hearing in Washington on July 21, 2022. (Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images)

Soon after her vote, the Wyoming Republican Party censured Cheney and voted to no longer recognize her as a member of the GOP.

According to the first independent, public, in-state poll, conducted July 7 to 11 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy for the Star-Tribune, Trump endorsed candidate Harriet Hageman leads Cheney in the race for Wyoming’s lone House seat by a commanding 22 percent.

Among the 1,100 registered Wyoming voters likely to participate in the primary, 52 percent said they will vote for Hageman. Only 30 percent will back Cheney.

The poll also showed that between 63 percent and 68 percent of voters in every region of Wyoming disapprove of her job performance. More significantly, 63 percent of those surveyed disapprove of her participation in the House Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, 54 percent said they were less likely to support her because of her performance as part of the committee and 61 percent said her obsession with attacking Trump has affected her ability to do her job in representing the people of Wyoming.

“The big story is Liz Cheney is going to get beat,” Brad Coker Managing Director Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy said of the survey results. “That’s a foregone conclusion.”

Coker added that the race “is more about Liz Cheney than it is about Donald Trump,” and that “anybody who’s credible, who ran to the right of Liz Cheney would probably win this race—with or without Donald Trump.”

When It’s All Said and Done

“The general consensus is the Republicans are going to take back enough seats to win the house,” Coker told The Epoch Times. “The mystery is how many?”

Something Coker finds very interesting about the 2022 primary campaigns is that “Democrats are trying to advertise in Republican areas to encourage votes for the candidate they think will be easiest to beat.”

As for reclaiming the Senate, Coker said “it’s a complete toss up because, for every seat where the Republicans have a decent chance of having a pickup they’re also defending another seat where it’s been vacated by the incumbent or the incumbent has to work a little harder than they thought.”

As for the Trump endorsement, Coker believes “it does more to shore up the base” than anything else. And, while it may prove useful in some districts that already lean Republican but have a Democrat incumbent in areas that are already heavily Republican, it won’t be the gamechanger it’s made out to be.

“Obviously having the Trump endorsement in the primary is better than not having it but I don’t think it’s automatic,” Coker said. “We have seen a number of races where a candidate Trump was not backing went on to win the primary.”

As for Cheney, Coker said her decision to cast her vote to impeach Trump was part of the political hole she got herself into and the only reason why she was asked to join the Jan. 6 Committee was because the Democrats wanted to “give it the illusion of being bipartisan.”

“She’s already figured out there’s no turning back so she might as well keep digging,” Coker said. “She’s not campaigning. She’s not showing up for events. She’s spending most of her time in Washington working on this committee and running television adds so she’s not out there doing the things a serious candidate needs to do to win. I think, in a sense, she’s almost given up.”

In her case, Coker believes Cheney’s polling deficit to Hageman has more to do with Cheney’s bad choices than who Trump endorsed.

“Trump could have sat this one out and I don’t think it would have changed the outcome,” he said. “Voters in Wyoming were starting to sour on Cheney anyway, even before she decided to put her name on the January 6 committee, and then there’s that whole carpetbagger thing. But agreeing to serve on that committee did more damage than anything. That was the last straw for a lot of voters.”

When all is said and done, Coker believes the primary will ultimately have less to do with who Trump endorses and more to do with how current Democratic policies are disrupting the lives of voters through high gas prices, soaring food costs, and supply chain issues.

“Right now, the success of Trump’s endorsements might be amplified by the January 6 hearings,” Coker surmised. “But come September, people are going to vote with their pocketbook.”

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