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Tallying the Wins and Losses: Midterm GOP Primaries Gauge Trump's Influence 

06-14-2022
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Donald Trump is seeing both wins and losses as primary season hits its halfway mark. While his word still goes a long way with Republican voters, his preferred candidates don't have a perfect record.

The former president hasn't shied away from weighing in on some of the country's most pivotal races, and the question over how much influence he still brings to the table continues to be thoroughly dissected.

One clear conclusion is that although Trump's blessing hasn't led to automatic wins, that doesn't mean it's not helpful. Trump picked up a big win early in the season with his endorsement of Ohio senate candidate J.D. Vance

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Vance was floundering in a crowded GOP field before Trump's welcome involvement likely carried Vance across the finish line for the primary win. 

"I have got to absolutely thank the 45th President Donald Trump," said Vance at his primary victory party. 

The Ohio race is seen as highly significant in November because the winner could go a long way towards determining control of the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill.

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Trump picked up more wins in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Georgia with U.S. Senate candidates he endorsed, but Pennsylvania's high-profile race put his influence to the test.

Trump-backed doctor turned television celebrity turned Senate candidate Mehmet Oz in the primary. Oz found himself locked in a dead heat with opponent David McCormick after primary day. It led to a recount with McCormick eventually conceding after losing by less than 1,000 votes.

Then came a deja vu moment when the former president saw a repeat of 2020 with defeat in Georgia.

Trump backed challengers to incumbent Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Political observers saw those endorsements as revenge plays since both Kemp and Raffensperger went against Trump's calls to challenge Joe Biden's 2020 win in the state. 

After both won their primaries against Trump's preferred candidates, Cole Muzio, president of the Frontline Policy Council, saw it as a "move-on" moment for Georgia voters.

"If all we're talking about is yesterday then we're losing the fight today and we'll lose it tomorrow. We've got to focus on principals, we've got to get back to that space. Donald Trump is still a very popular figure in the Republican Party and the conservative movement, he had a great four years. I think the people around this country, the conservative movement are saying 'we can appreciate him without being obedient to him,'" said Muzio.

Still, Trump has more wins than losses and that record is important for the former president according to CBN's chief political analyst David Brody. 

"He does care about the win-loss record for sure. But let's make no mistake, Donald Trump is powerful in the Republican Party, there's not a question about that. This has nothing to do with any sort of staying power in 2024, for people to interpret results and say, 'well wait a minute, maybe his election 2020 stuff won't work in 2024,' that's hogwash," said Brody.

More primaries remain as the midterm elections approach in November, with the former president expected to play a big role down the stretch.

"What I'm seeing is that Trump's popularity within the Republican Party isn't easily transferable to other candidates. I think President Trump himself is still popular and voters are thankful for things he's done and continues to do, but that doesn't necessarily mean Republican voters are looking for Trump to tell them exactly what they should do or who to vote for in every race," said Inside Elections editor Nathan Gonzales.

It's worth keeping tabs on how often voters are going with Trump's candidates because it could be a sign of how much support the former president has as he potentially eyes another bid for the White House.

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