Tuesday night’s primaries were yet another mixed bag for former President Donald Trump.
In what is becoming a bit of a routine, Trump saw a few of his chosen Republicans prevail while some others went down to defeat. Coming into this primary season, we tried to anticipate what these contests might tell us about the GOP electorate. For instance, could Trump still sink or mint nominees on a whim?
By that criteria, I believe it’s safe to say his influence is waning. Take, for example, the new trusty Trump endorsement meter created by The Washington Post. Thanks to Tuesday’s results, Trump’s success rate dropped from 73% to 70%, a far cry from his record as an incumbent.
On top of that, it’s been tough for Trump outside of the electoral arena as well. He took a highly-rated nationally televised beating in the January 6th hearings, while potential 2024 GOP rival Ron DeSantis scored lengthy pieces in The New Yorker, The Washington Post and Politico.
Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Trump is toying with jumping into the 2024 race now to get ahead of the rest of the Republican field.
As we look ahead to the fall campaign, however, the critical question is just how involved will Trump be in Republican efforts to win back control of Congress. If his efforts are seen as instrumental to GOP success, his standing is sure to rebound. A Republican disappointment, or a red wave in spite of Trump’s involvement, would instead suggest his time has past.
Britt Sweeps in Alabama, Plus Congressional Results in Georgia and Virginia
Now, let’s take a look at Tuesday’s major contests.
The main event in Alabama was a bit anti-climactic as Katie Britt easily defeated Rep. Mo Brooks in the state’s Republican run-off. With just about all of the precincts in, Britt leads Brooks 63.0% to 36.9%. Brooks, of course, had Trump’s support until his polling numbers refused to rise and the former President unendorsed him. Trump then eventually decided to back Britt in the run-off.
Meanwhile, in Brooks’ now open 5th Congressional District, Dale Strong cruised to victory over Casey Wardynski 63.4% to 36.6%.
Over in Georgia, a pair of Trump-backed candidates suffered defeat in their run-offs. In the 6th district, physician Rich McCormick secured 66.7% over Trump’s preferred candidate, attorney Jake Evans, who got just 33.2%.
Similarly in the 10th district, controversial former State Rep. Vernon Jones lost to businessman Mike Collins, 25.3% to 74.6%. Jones was a former Democratic official who was inspired by Trump to switch parties. During the campaign, Collins hammered Jones over a 2005 rape allegation.
The closest contest in the Peach State was the Republican runoff in the 2nd Congressional District. A traditionally Democratic seat, the GOP is hopeful that the latest round of redistricting will put it within their grasp. With most of the precincts in, attorney Chris West edged past army vet Jeremy Hunt 51.3% to 48.6%. If West comes up short in November, Republicans may lament that they didn’t have a Black nominee like Hunt in this nearly majority Black district.
Finally, in the commonwealth of Virginia, Republicans decided their nominees for two highly competitive House races. In the 2nd district, State Sen. Jen Kiggans earned a healthy victory over Navy vet Jarome Bell, 55.6% to 27.1%. Kiggans had the support of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who will likely breathe a sigh of relief that the more extreme Bell did not prevail.
A crowded contest in Virginia’s 7th district finished with Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega on top with 28.9%. Vega was the choice of Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and recent headline-grabber.
Kiggans and Vega will go on to face Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger respectively in November.
A Look Ahead at Next Week
June 28th will be our last major Election Day for awhile, but there’s plenty to look forward to. Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah will have primaries, and given that all these states are either deep-blue or deep-red, these primaries will likely determine the ultimate winners. We’ll see you back here again on Tuesday night!