As the various April and May Senate and Governor primaries come around, the Trump brand will be sorely tested as the former president is wading into controversy, making risky endorsements in closely fought primaries. So how are his favored candidates doing?
So far, pretty damn well.
Trump has staked out Senate endorsements in. Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Although none of the Trump candidates posted leads at the time of his endorsement, four of the five now show the Trump-endorsed candidate in first place.
Most dramatically, his endorsement of author JD Vance in the Ohio Senate primary (to be held May 17) appears to have lifted Vance into a lead over previous front runner former state treasurer Josh Mandel. Before Trump came out for Vance on April 15, an April 13 poll had Mandel in the lead by five points. But after Trump laid hands on Vance, the author led an April 18 poll over Mandel by seven points, a total turn around.
Trump’s magic touch is also working in North Carolina’s May 17 primary where Congressman Ted Budd has opened up a lead of between ten and thirteen points over former Governor and Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory who Trump accuses McCrory of RINOism;
In one of America’s most closely watched Senate primaries. Trump’s backing of Dr. Oz has tilted the race in the doctor’s favor in the May 17 primary. Businessman David McCormick had led Oz by 18-11 on Eagle Consulting’s April 7th poll. Then the Trump Bomb hit, and Oz went from a 7-point deficit to a 3-point lead in the Trafalgar Poll.
In the primary Trump wants to win the most — his bid to oust Lisa Murkowski in Alaska — the jury is still out on how Kelly Tshibaka, Murkowski’s opponent is doing. The most recent poll, by Cygnal had Kelly clinging to a 51-49 lead, a very unusual finding of zero undecided voters in the August 16 primary.
Only in Alabama has Trump’s endorsement not paid off. After backing Congressman Mo Brooks — and then reportedly reconsidering his endorsement — Trump, who still backs Brooks, is facing a strong come-from-nowhere opponent Michael Durant, Air Force pilot and the author of Black Hawk Down, an autobiography of his military career. Durant leads the race handily.
In endorsing in such highly controversial races, Trump is, indeed performing a high wire act. Should his candidates lose, the anti-Trump boo-birds will have a field day and the Trump brand will face charges that is has faded since the 2020 election.
But so far, so good.
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