Latest News 12-06-2024 21:08 16 Views

Trump-backed primary candidates run the table, proving his power in the party: ‘With him 110%’

If there was any remaining doubt about former President Trump's sway over the Republican Party, dismiss it.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee firmly remains his party's ultimate kingmaker — candidates who landed the coveted Trump endorsement all won their primary battles on Tuesday as four states held intra-party contests.

And in a couple of high-profile cases, Republican primaries that were supposed to be competitive contests ended up as blowouts with the Trump-backed candidates easily cruising to victory.

'With all things equal, you want the president’s endorsement. End of story,' longtime Republican consultant Dave Carney told Fox News. 'It’s not a guaranteed win, but it is really important. It sends a signal to primary voters of your credentials.'

And seasoned GOP strategist and communicator Lance Trover, spotlighting that the party remains firmly under Trump's grip, said, 'I don’t know that there’s really any question about where Republican voters are and who they’re aligned with.'

A last-minute endorsement by Trump in Nevada likely boosted Army veteran Sam Brown to a more than 40-point victory in the GOP Senate primary in the key race in a crucial Western battleground that may determine whether Republicans win back the chamber's majority.

Brown, a former Army captain who was severely burned and permanently scarred in 2008 when his vehicle ran over an explosive device in the war in Afghanistan, ended up crushing his main Republican rival — Jeff Gunter, a wealthy dermatologist who served as Trump's ambassador to Iceland.

Trump's endorsement Sunday in Nevada was the latest example of the former president backing the candidate supported by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is the Senate GOP's campaign arm.

In South Carolina, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace survived a serious primary challenge for a second straight election cycle. 

Mace won renomination in South Carolina's competitive Low Country-based 1st Congressional District by easily defeating Catherine Templeton, a former director of South Carolina's labor agency who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, and Marine Corps veteran Bill Young.

Templeton was backed by millions spent by outside groups aligned with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Unlike two years ago, when he had her back, the former House speaker targeted Mace, who last year was one of eight House Republicans to break ranks and vote to oust McCarthy. 

The former speaker is seeking revenge as he works to defeat the eight Republican lawmakers, and McCarthy-aligned outside groups shelled out millions of dollars to run ads supporting Templeton and targeting Mace.

In 2022, Trump targeted Mace after she blamed him for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters aiming to upend congressional certification of President Biden's 2020 election victory. Mace won a single-digit victory over a Trump-backed challenger.

But fast-forward two years, and Mace now had Trump's backing after she endorsed the former president and campaigned for him earlier this year in South Carolina's crucial GOP presidential primary.

Trump also had an impact on the GOP primary race in the 4th District in upstate South Carolina. That's where three-term Rep. William Timmons narrowly fended off a challenge from state Rep. Adam Morgan, who ran to Timmons' right.

'There’s no doubt that Timmons would have lost without the Trump endorsement,' a Republican source who works on House races told Fox News.

In Maine's 2nd Congressional District — where Republicans are once again hoping to knock off moderate Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, who is running for a fourth term in a mostly rural district won by Trump in both 2016 and 2020 — the former president's endorsement made a major impact.

State Rep. Austin Theriault, a former NASCAR driver who had Trump's backing, defeated state Rep. Mike Soboleski by more than 30 points.

And in North Dakota, Trump's endorsement of Rep. Kelly Armstrong likely helped the three-term Republican representative top Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller in the race to succeed GOP Gov. Doug Burgum.

Burgum, who is considered a top contender to serve as Trump's running mate, had backed Miller in the primary.

Carney, who stayed neutral in the GOP presidential primaries but is now steering a pro-Trump super PAC, noted that compared to two years ago, when a number of high-profile Trump endorsed candidates won primary battles but went down to defeat in the general election, 'he’s being more judicious in who he’s endorsing.'

And Trover, a top aide on Burgum's unsuccessful 2024 presidential primary campaign, emphasized, 'I think you’re seeing more and more of a unified Republican Party as we inch forward toward the general election.'

He argued that the GOP is 'a unified party that’s going to be with him 110% of the way, no matter what happens.'

Republicans did under perform in Tuesday's one general election showdown — a special congressional election in red-state Ohio.

Republican state Sen. Michael Rulli defeated Democrat Michael Kripchak, an Air Force veteran, by less than 10 points in the race to succeed former GOP Rep. Bill Johnson, who stepped down earlier this year to serve as president of Youngstown State University.

Johnson overwhelmingly won the mostly rural and blue-collar district by 35 points in his 2022 re-election and Trump carried the district by 29 points in 2020.

But the massive swing in the Democrats' favor is the latest example of their party overperforming in special elections.

National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Jack Pandol argued that his party is 'not sweating' the results in the special election and dismisses talk that the contest was a barometer for things to come in November, as the House GOP works to defend its razor-thin majority in the chamber.

'It’s a special election It’s off-calendar. Turnout is really low,' Pandol told Fox News. 'I don’t think that it’s useful or instructive to try to read into this too much.'

And he predicted that House Republicans 'will eviscerate' Democrats with 'presidential-level turnout.'


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