How have Trump-backed candidates fared in the 2022 GOP primaries?
The former president is testing his prowess as kingmaker. He’s made more than 130 endorsements and we’re keeping tally of how many of those candidates have succeeded in this early stage of the 2022 midterm elections.
So far, many of them have won their Republican primaries (although to be fair, most have run unopposed or against poorly funded competitors). But there have been some notable exceptions — here’s a roundup of the winners and losers:
Doug Mastriano, gubernatorial candidate
Mastriano has been an outspoken supporter of Trump, helped lead efforts in the state to overturn the 2020 election, and was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 (but insists he left before things turned violent.) And to the chagrin of some Pennsylvania Republicans, the former president blessed State Senator Doug Mastriano with a last-minute endorsement.
“There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder for election integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano,” Trump said last week. Mastriano won the gubernatorial primary with 45 percent of the vote, but many Republicans fear he’s too extreme politically to win the general election and could “drag the whole ticket down,” political expert Brian Goldsmith tells us.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, U.S. Senate candidate
Trump endorsed the former talk show host in April, after his first candidate in the Senate primary, Sean Parnell, dropped out of the race. Trump has said that Dr. Oz’s successful TV career spoke to his likability, but the endorsement was met with backlash from some Republicans who questioned the physician’s commitment to conservative values.
He’s now neck and neck with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick.
Trump also endorsed the following candidates in Pennsylvania, all of whom have secured victories:
- Guy Reschenthaler, House of Representatives
- Scott Perry, House of Representatives
- Mike Kelly, House of Representatives
- John Joyce, House of Representatives
- Jim Bognet, House of Representatives
Madison Cawthorn, House of Representatives candidate
The 26-year-old incumbent conceded this week, after trailing State Senator Chuck Edwards by about 1,300 votes. Cawthorn has weathered a series of scandals — including being photographed in lingerie and his claim that he was invited to an orgy in D.C. and had witnessed public figures doing drugs.
Trump even asked North Carolina voters last week to give the House candidate a “second chance” after his “foolish mistakes” but that apparently wasn’t enough.
Former college football player Bo Hines surged to the front of a crowded field of candidates after securing a surprise endorsement from the former president. The 26-year-old, who has often been compared to Cawthorn, won with 32 percent of the vote.
“He is a proven winner both on and off the field, and he is going to help win a huge Republican majority in the House of Representatives,” Trump said in March.
Trump also endorsed the following candidates in North Carolina, all of whom have secured victories:
- Dan Bishop, House of Representatives
- Ted Budd, Senate
- Virginia Foxx, House of Representatives
- Richard Hudson, House of Representatives
- Patrick McHenry, House of Representatives
- Greg Murphy, House of Representatives
- David Rouzer, House of Representatives
J.D. Vance, U.S. Senate candidate
The Hillbilly Elegy author once referred to himself as a “Never Trump guy,” has very publicly disparaged the former president’s policies, and once called Trump “America’s Hitler.” Then, when he began his run for Senate, he had a very sudden change of heart and won Trump’s endorsement. That helped Vance secure a victory in the primary with 32 percent of the vote.
Trump also endorsed the following candidates in Ohio, all of whom have secured victories:
- Troy Balderson, House of Representatives
- Mike Carey, House of Representatives
- Steve Chabot, House of Representatives
- Warren Davidson, House of Representatives
- Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, House of Representatives
- Bill Johnson, House of Representatives
- Jim Jordan, House of Representatives
- Robert E. Latta, House of Representatives
- Max Miller, House of Representatives
- Michael Turner, House of Representatives
- Brad Wenstrup, House of Representatives
Janice McGeachin, gubernatorial candidate
The former president endorsed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who raised her public profile by defying the governor’s pandemic restrictions. The far-right candidate was hoping to court conservatives loyal to Trump, who carried the state in the 2016 and 2020 elections, but was trounced in the gubernatorial primary — winning less than 30 percent of the vote.
Trump also endorsed these candidates in Idaho, all of whom have secured victories:
- Russ Fulcher, House of Representatives
- Mike Crapo, Senate
During his time in the House, Massie has clashed with Trump. In May 2020, when the Congressman threatened to delay the House’s $2 trillion Covid relief package, Trump even called him a “third-rate grandstander” who he wanted thrown out of the GOP. But for whatever reason, the former president changed his tune. He endorsed Massie last week, applauding him as a “first-rate defender of the Constitution.”
Senator Rand Paul was once a political rival who called Trump a “fake conservative” and a “delusional narcissist” in their battle for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. But the two appear to have mended fences and in April, Trump gave Paul his endorsement for reelection.
“He fights against the swamp in Washington, the radical left liberals, and especially the destructive RINOS, of which there are far too many in Congress,” Trump said in a statement.
Trump also endorsed these candidates in Kentucky, all of whom have secured victories:
- Hal Rogers, House of Representatives
- Brett Guthrie House, House of Representatives
- James Comer, House of Representatives
- Andy Barr, House of Representatives
Trump endorsed the current Texas governor, who’s running for reelection amid an avalanche of controversies that include pushing child-abuse investigations of parents who affirm the gender of their trans kids and indicating that he would challenge a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that requires schools to educate undocumented immigrant children.
Abbott handily won his primary with 67.2% of the vote, and in the fall he’ll face Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, who nearly snatched Ted Cruz’s Senate seat in 2018 before jumping into a short-lived campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
The former president also threw his support behind Texas’s lieutenant governor, who first took office in 2015 and is now angling for this third term. Patrick has been consistently on the same page with Trump, though he’s recently faced some tension with Republicans in his own state over his handling of a bill that would allow carrying a handgun with a permit. Patrick won his primary with 78.7% of the vote.
Trump also endorsed the following candidates in Texas, all of whom have secured victories:
- Roger Williams, House of Representatives
- Randy Weber, House of Representatives
- Beth Van Duyne, House of Representatives
- August Pfluger, House of Representatives
- Troy E. Nehls, House of Representatives
- Sid Miller, Agriculture Commissioner
- Michael McCaul, House of Representatives
- Ronny Jackson, House of Representatives
- Wesley Hunt, House of Representatives
- Glenn Hegar, Comptroller
- Kay Granger, House of Representatives
- Lance Gooden, House of Representatives
- Pat Fallon, House of Representatives
- Jake Ellzey, House of Representatives
- Monica De La Cruz, House of Representatives
- Michael Cloud, House of Representatives
- John Carter, House of Representatives
- Michael C. Burgess, House of Representatives
- Brian Babin, House of Representatives
- Jodey Arrington, House of Representatives
The younger brother of former Vice President Mike Pence got Trump’s support in the House of Representatives races for Indiana’s sixth congressional district. The endorsement would seem to indicate that Trump’s testy relationship with his former running mate — including what seemed to be a defense of the Jan. 6 rioters who called for Pence’s hanging — wasn’t a factor in Trump’s decision to back Greg, who won his primary with 77.7% of the vote.
Banks heads up the Republican Study Committee, the party’s largest caucus in the House of Representatives, and he got Trump’s endorsement even though he was unopposed in the race to keep his seat in Indiana’s third congressional district. Banks is one of several candidates Trump endorsed in the state who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump also endorsed the following candidates in Indiana, all of whom have secured victories:
- Jackie Walorski, House of Representatives
- Victoria Spartz, House of Representatives
- Larry Bucshon, House of Representatives
- Jim Baird, House of Representatives
Trump’s pick came out on top in the House of Representatives race for West Virginia’s second congressional district, and in this case, the loser is just as notable as the winner. Because the state lost one of its congressional seats, two districts were combined, pitting Mooney against fellow Rep. David McKinley. Trump’s support for Mooney came after he warned McKinley against voting in favor of last year’s infrastructure law, which secured funding for projects like roads and bridges. McKinley voted for it anyway, Trump endorsed Mooney, and Mooney took home the win with 54.2% of the vote.
Trump’s other endorsement in the state was in another House of Representatives race, and Carol Miller won the Republican primary for the first congressional district with 67.7% of the vote.
One of Trump’s few losses so far comes in this race for governor of Nebraska, and it’s a doozy: The former president backed Herbster, a business executive who’s been accused by eight women of touching them inappropriately (including by a state senator from his own party). Herbster lost the Republican primary, but only narrowly — he pulled in 29.2% of the vote, just shy of the 33.9% for the winner, Jim Pillen.
Adrian SmithTrump’s other endorsement in Nebraska did claim victory. That’s Adrian Smith, who won the primary for the state’s third congressional district with 76.9% of the vote.