Donald Trump has wielded the power of his endorsement in his bid to maintain his control over the GOP, and one of the first serious tests of its power came in the Republican primaries Tuesday.
The results were mixed, but several high-profile Trump allies slumped to defeat.
Most of the 26 Trump-backed candidates on the ballot Tuesday were running in safe seats, meaning that on paper, the results validated the former president’s endorsement power.
But in other competitive races, the results were less positive for Trump.
In Idaho, Trump-backed Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin was defeated in her bid to unseat the current Gov. Brad Little. McGeachin has backed Trump’s bogus election fraud claims and built her political reputation on defying measures to control the coronavirus over which she clashed with Little.
And in Ohio, Trump-endorsed TV star Dr. Oz is locked in a dead heat with rival David McCormick in a race shaken up by a late surge by political newcomer Kathy Barnette. Dr. Oz has staked his campaign on his closeness to Trump.
There were also notable successes for Trump-backed candidates Tuesday.
But Republican critics believe that Trump’s fixation on candidates who back his election fraud claims could damage them in the mid-terms, and alienate moderate supporters.