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Factbox-Power of Trump's endorsements faces test in 12 U.S. midterm primaries

Politics May 24, 2022 11:06PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his rally in Selma, North Carolina, U.S., April 9, 2022. REUTERS/Erin Siegal McIntyre/File Photo

(Reuters) - Former U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to demonstrate his power over the Republican Party with more than 190 endorsements of candidates ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections 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.

LOSERS IN PRIMARIES

David Perdue

* Went up against Georgia's incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp

Former U.S. Senator Perdue, despite getting Trump's endorsement, didn't come close to upsetting Georgia's incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp. Perdue, who has repeated Trump's falsehoods about losing Georgia in the 2020 presidential election due to widespread voter fraud, conceded to Kemp shortly after polls closed in the May 24 Republican primary. Kemp had angered Trump by dismissing the former president's false statements about election fraud.

WINNERS IN PRIMARIES

Herschel Walker

* Will face incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia

A retired football star, Walker easily won the Republican nomination contest and opinion polls 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.

Ted Budd

* Seeks U.S. Senate seat for North Carolina vacated by retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr

A rank-and-file member of the House of Representatives, 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 Trump's endorsement, he surged in opinion polls and easily defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in the May 17 primary.

In November, Budd will face Democrat Cheri Beasley, a Black woman who formerly served as the state's chief justice.

J.D. Vance

* Seeks U.S. Senate seat for Ohio vacated by retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman

Trump-backed Vance triumphed in a crowded May 3 Republican primary and is favored to win in November against Democrat Tim Ryan, currently a U.S. Representative for Ohio, although some political observers expect a stiff challenge from Ryan.

Vance is best known as the author of best-seller "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 Trump mold, seeking to shed his prior reputation as a Trump critic.

STILL UNDECIDED

Mehmet Oz

* Seeks U.S. Senate seat for Pennsylvania vacated by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey

Oz, a celebrity doctor whose endorsement by Trump divided Republican leaders in Pennsylvania, appeared to be heading to a recount in his race against former hedge fund executive David McCormick (NYSE:MKC). Oz was ahead in the May 17 Republican primary by less than 1,000 votes, a gap so narrow it could automatically trigger an official recount. Also complicating the outlook, McCormick has filed a lawsuit in a Pennsylvania court to compel counties to count undated mail-in ballots in the race.

The eventual winner will face Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in what is expected to be among the tightest races of the November election.

UPCOMING RACES

Katie Arrington

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Nancy Mace

* June 14 Republican primary for South Carolina's 1st congressional district

The South Carolina state representative is challenging a sitting Republican lawmaker who voted against Trump's impeachment. Mace irked the former president in 2021 when she said Congress should consider censuring Trump for his role in his supporters' assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Arrington has trailed Mace in public opinion polls.

Russell Fry

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Tom Rice

* June 14 Republican primary for South Carolina's 7th congressional district

Trump's pick to unseat 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 31, pointing to a potentially competitive race with Rice.

Loren Culp

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Dan Newhouse

* Aug. 2 Republican primary for Washington's 4th congressional district

Trump's pick to challenge 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. Trump had endorsed Culp in February, angered by Newhouse's 2021 impeachment vote.

John Gibbs

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Peter Meijer

* Aug. 2 Republican primary for Michigan's 3rd congressional district

A former housing official under Trump, Gibbs' nomination to head the U.S. 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 Meijer, who voted to impeach 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 U.S. Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler

* Aug. 2 Republican primary for Washington's 3rd congressional district

Former special forces officer Kent has campaigned with far right U.S. 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."

Kelly Tshibaka

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

* Aug. 16 open primary contest

Trump is backing Tshibaka, a former Alaska state administration commissioner, to unseat Murkowski, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in 2021 on impeachment charges that he incited insurrection. The Alaska contest has taken on the shade of a proxy war between Trump and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who vowed to do everything possible to help the campaign of Murkowski, one of the Senate's few Republican moderates.

Harriet Hageman

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Liz Cheney

* Aug. 16 Wyoming at-large-district Republican primary

Trump threw his backing behind Hageman, a land-use lawyer, in September 2021, looking to punish 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. Hageman led Cheney by 20 percentage points in a December poll.

Factbox-Power of Trump's endorsements faces test in 12 U.S. midterm primaries
 

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Comments (2)
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm May 24, 2022 6:16AM ET
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The whole concept of endorsement is a mystery to me. American voters can't think for themselves? You need the approval of one crooked politicians for another crooked politicians, telling you that he/she is the right person?
Brad Albright
Brad Albright May 24, 2022 6:16AM ET
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It's true, about a third of American voters cannot, indeed, think for themselves. They want and need a daddy to tell them what to do.
Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison May 24, 2022 6:05AM ET
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so scared of orange man
 
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