Trump-backed candidates are crushing it in GOP primaries

One of the big questions over the last few months has been why Republican officials are so fearful to speak out again...

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 3:34 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 3:34 PM

One of the big questions over the last few months has been why Republican officials are so fearful to speak out against the President. Much of that certainly has to do with ideological agreement with Trump. Some of it, no doubt, is Republicans know that speaking out too much against the President is an electoral death wish.

When you agree with Trump, on the other hand, it can pay dividends in a big way.

On Tuesday night, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp became just the latest Republican to benefit from President Donald Trump's endorsement. Kemp trailed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle by double digits in the first round of the state's gubernatorial primary. Polling indicated that Kemp was climbing before Trump backed him, but Trump's endorsement seemed to accelerate his surge. In the end, Kemp was able to win the runoff by 39 percentage points.

The Kemp win capped off what has been a strong two months for the President when he waded into competitive Republican primaries.

It all started before the California primary on June 5. Republicans desperately wanted a member of their party to finish as the first- or second-place candidate given the state's top-two primary system. Polls indicated though that Republican voters really weren't sure who to vote for because so many Republicans were running. In came the President with an endorsement on May 18 for John Cox. A few weeks later, Cox easily placed second and got on the ballot for November.

The next big triumph for the President came on June 12 in South Carolina. Rep. Mark Sanford was beaten in his primary by Katie Arrington. Trump made a day-of election endorsement for Arrington that probably didn't move too many votes given how late it occurred. Still, Sanford was dogged on the campaign trail by his general hostile attitude towards the President.

Where Trump's endorsement clearly helped was in the South Carolina's governor's race. Trump backed Gov. Henry McMaster in his primary. McMaster finished first in round one, and then Trump's continual backing - including an election eve rally - allowed him to escape with a narrow victory over businessman John Warren in the runoff a few weeks later. Warren, as I previously noted, fit the Trump mold better than McMaster did. Voters though decided to go with the long-time politician Trump endorsed rather than the Trump-like candidate.

The same held true in New York's 11th District when Rep. Dan Donovan beat Michael Grimm on June 26. Grimm, who acted and spoke a lot like Trump, led in a primary poll taken a little less than a month before the primary. As that poll was in the field, Trump tweeted his support for Donovan, even though Donovan voted against his tax cut plan. Donovan won the primary by about 25 percentage points.

Perhaps most interesting is what occurred in Alabama's 2nd District. Rep. Martha Roby had withdrawn her endorsement of Trump in 2016 after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tapes. Trump though decided to back Roby in 2018 nonetheless. That left Democrat-turned-Republican Bobby Bright with little room to call out Roby for her past statements against Trump. She would win the primary runoff on July 17 by 36 points.

The success of these half-dozen Republican candidates in competitive races shouldn't be too surprising. The President has an approval rating north of 80% with Republicans and north of 90% with conservative Republicans (i.e. the base). He is the leader of the party, so what he says should be pretty important.

What is compelling though is the different types of candidates who seem to be getting a helping hand from Trump. There are those who generally match his profile (like Cox), those who beat candidates who were more like Trump (like Donovan) and those who were once clearly against him (like Roby).

It's not all good news for the president, though. Remember these are Republican primaries. Republican candidates still need to win general elections. The last two Republicans who went down in ruby red territory (Roy Moore and Rick Saccone) both had the emphatic backing of the President.

With Trump's approval rating in the low 40s among the general electorate, he's more likely a detriment to Republicans than a help in the upcoming fall elections.

West Lafayette
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 50°
Kokomo
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 51°
Rensselaer
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 50°
Fowler
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 50°
Williamsport
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 49°
Crawfordsville
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 44°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 48°
Delphi
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 50°
Monticello
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 51°
Logansport
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 46°
Mainly Dry and Warmer Rest of the Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112626

Reported Deaths: 3520
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20832759
Lake10292318
Elkhart6415109
St. Joseph6156102
Allen6029200
Hamilton4724109
Vanderburgh344530
Hendricks2673122
Monroe247436
Tippecanoe226913
Johnson2268123
Clark215056
Porter207845
Cass19329
Delaware188261
Vigo178123
Madison159575
LaPorte137739
Floyd131461
Howard128563
Kosciusko120217
Warrick119936
Bartholomew115357
Marshall98924
Dubois95418
Boone95146
Hancock91143
Grant89133
Noble89132
Henry77024
Wayne74414
Jackson7409
Morgan70038
Shelby66529
Daviess64427
Dearborn63228
LaGrange63111
Clinton59212
Harrison56024
Putnam53710
Lawrence50528
Montgomery50521
Knox5019
Gibson4854
White48114
DeKalb45611
Decatur45439
Miami4263
Fayette41813
Greene41835
Jasper3862
Steuben3707
Scott35610
Sullivan33012
Jennings31212
Posey3060
Franklin29925
Clay2935
Orange28524
Ripley2838
Carroll27013
Wabash2618
Washington2611
Starke2537
Whitley2526
Wells2482
Adams2453
Jefferson2443
Fulton2342
Huntington2223
Tipton21722
Spencer2153
Perry21413
Randolph2087
Jay1730
Newton17111
Owen1651
Martin1640
Rush1524
Pike1401
Vermillion1260
Fountain1182
Pulaski1151
Blackford1133
Crawford1030
Brown1023
Parke941
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland700
Warren391
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events