Power of Trump's endorsements faces test in 12 US midterm primaries

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Power Of Trump's Endorsements Faces Test In 12 Us Midterm Primaries Power Of Trump's Endorsements Faces Test In 12 Us Midterm Primaries
Former US president Donald Trump seeks to demonstrate his power over the Republican Party with more than 150 endorsements of candidates ahead of a midterm election on November 8th. Photo: Getty Images
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Former US president Donald Trump seeks to demonstrate his power over the Republican Party with more than 150 endorsements of candidates ahead of a midterm election on November 8th that will determine control of Congress for 2023 and 2024.

Twelve picks in primary elections taking place stand out among the many. Some are Republicans opposing incumbent members of his party.

Winners in primaries

Ted Budd

  • Seeks US Senate seat for North Carolina vacated by retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr.
  • A rank-and-file member of the House of Representatives, Mr Budd had little statewide name recognition before he sought the Republican nomination for what is expected to be a tight race in November. But following Mr Trump's endorsement, he surged in public opinion polls and easily defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in the May 17th primary.
  • In November, Mr Budd will face Democrat Cheri Beasley, a Black woman who formerly served as the state's chief justice.

J.D. Vance

  • Seeks US Senate seat for Ohio vacated by retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman.
  • Trump-backed Vance triumphed in a crowded May 3rd Republican primary and is favoured to win in November against Democrat Tim Ryan, currently a US Representative for Ohio, although some political observers expect a stiff challenge from Mr Ryan.
  • Mr Vance is best known as the author of bestseller Hillbilly Elegy which documented the descent of factory towns in states like Ohio into poverty and drug abuse. He has styled himself as an angry populist in the Mr Trump mold, seeking to shed his prior reputation as a Trump critic.

Mr Vance is best known as the author of bestseller Hillbilly Elegy which documented the descent of factory towns in states like Ohio into poverty and drug abuse. Photo: Getty Images

Still undecided

Mehmet Oz

  • Seeks US Senate seat for Pennsylvania vacated by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey
  • Mr Oz, a celebrity doctor whose endorsement by Mr Trump divided Republican leaders in Pennsylvania, remained locked on Wednesday in a race with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick that is so tight it might automatically trigger an official recount.
  • Votes were still being counted in the May 17th Republican primary. The eventual winner will face Democrat John Fetterman in what is expected to be among the tightest races of the November election.

Upcoming races

Herschel Walker

  • Seeks to defeat incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
  • May 24th Republican primary.
  • A retired football star, Mr Walker is favored to win the Republican nomination contest and public opinion polls already point to a close race in November against Warnock, a pastor.
  • But Trump-endorsed Walker, who has never held elected office, has vulnerabilities including past allegations of domestic abuse.
  • Groups backing Mr Walker's Republican primary opponents are planning ad campaigns that argue Mr Walker cannot beat Mr Warnock because of his baggage.

David Perdue

  • Seeks to defeat Georgia incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
  • May 24th Republican primary.
  • In 2021, Mr Perdue conceded that he lost his US Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff, but in March 2022 reversed himself, voicing false claims that the election was stolen, although the evidence of fraud that he cited was part of a case that was ultimately dismissed by a judge.
  • Mr Kemp angered Mr Trump by dismissing the former president's false statements about election fraud but holds a double-digit lead over Mr Perdue in opinion polls.

Katie Arrington

  • Seeks to defeat incumbent US Republican Representative Nancy Mace.
  • June 14th Republican primary for South Carolina's 1st congressional district.
  • The South Carolina state representative is challenging a sitting Republican lawmaker who voted against Mr Trump's impeachment.
  • Ms Mace irked the former president shortly after taking office in January 2021 when she said Congress should consider censuring Mr Trump for his role in his supporters' assault on the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
  • Ms Arrington has trailed Ms Mace in public opinion polls.

Russell Fry

  • Seeks to defeat incumbent US Republican Representative Tom Rice.
  • June 14th Republican primary for South Carolina's 7th congressional district.
  • Mr Trump's pick to unseat Mr Rice, one of a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach the former leader, is a state representative whose campaign had nearly a half million dollars in the bank on March 31st, pointing to a potentially competitive race with Mr Rice.

Loren Culp

  • Seeks to defeat incumbent US Republican Representative Dan Newhouse.
  • August 2nd Republican primary for Washington's 4th congressional district.
  • Mr Trump's pick to challenge Mr Newhouse is former small-town police chief Loren Culp, who in March called for the execution of a Black man accused of badly injuring a woman by throwing her down the stairs of a train station.
  • Mr Trump had endorsed Mr Culp in February, angered by Mr Newhouse's 2021 impeachment vote.

John Gibbs

  • Seeks to defeat incumbent US Republican Representative Peter Meijer.
  • August 2nd Republican primary for Michigan's 3rd congressional district.
  • A former housing official under Mr Trump, Mr Gibbs' nomination to head the US Office of Personnel Management floundered after lawmakers from both parties questioned his history of inflammatory tweets, including references to baseless conspiracy theories about Democrats and Satanism.
  • His opponent Mr Meijer, who voted to impeach Mr Trump, is far ahead in fundraising.
  • The winner of the nomination contest will face a Democrat in what is expected to be among the tightest House races in November.

Joe Kent

  • Seeks to defeat incumbent US Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler.
  • August 2nd Republican primary for Washington's 3rd congressional district.
  • Former special forces officer Mr Kent has campaigned with far right US representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and told Oregon Public Broadcasting he held a social media strategy call with white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, though he said he disagreed with Fuentes' "ethno-nationalism."
  • Mr Kent's campaign had more than $1 million in the bank on March 31st, setting up a strong challenge to incumbent Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump.

Kelly Tshibaka

Kelly Tshibaka, who is running for the seat currently held by US Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 24th, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
  • Seeks to defeat incumbent US Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
  • August 16th open primary contest.
  • Mr Trump is backing Ms Tshibaka, a former Alaska state administration commissioner, to unseat Ms Murkowski, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in 2021 on charges he incited insurrection.
  • The Alaska contest has taken on the shade of a proxy war between Mr Trump and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who vowed to do everything possible to help the campaign of Ms Murkowski, one of the Senate's few Republican moderates.

Harriet Hageman

  • Seeks to defeat incumbent US Republican Representative Liz Cheney.
  • August 16th Wyoming at-large-district Republican primary.
  • Mr Trump threw his backing behind Ms Hageman, a land-use lawyer, in September 2021, looking to punish Ms Cheney, who was stripped of her role as the No. 3 House Republican for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting insurrection.
  • Ms Hageman led Ms Cheney by 20 percentage points in a December poll.
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