- Trump lied about his endorsement record as he tried to boost the prospects of some 2022 picks.
- Former Sen. David Perdue, who Trump backs, is struggling in his bid to unseat Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
- The former president’s endorsements are being closely followed as he weighs a 2024 run.
Former President Trump falsely suggested that he has an “unblemished” endorsement record as some of his hand-picked hopefuls struggle to gain ground amid hotly contested GOP primaries.
“Remember, you know, my record is unblemished,” Trump told The New York Times in an interview that was published on Friday. “The real story should be on the endorsements — not the David Perdue one — and, by the way, no race is over.”
Trump is not accurate in his description of his past record. Reps. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Jake Ellzey of Texas both won their primaries without his backing. Trump also stuck with Roy Moore even as the Alabama judge faced sexual assault and misconduct investigations.
And the current trajectory of some of his endorsements suggests that a handful of other GOP primary losers could soon join them.
Perdue, a former US senator, is the prime example of Trump’s struggle to recruit challengers to sitting GOP governors that have angered the former president. Trump has made no secret how much he loathes Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for refusing to bow to his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
Recent polling shows Kemp has a commanding lead. According to an April 10-22 Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, Kemp held a 53% to 27% lead over Perdue among likely GOP primary voters. If Kemp won by that big of a margin he would the potential for a June runoff.
Trump has doubled down on backing Kemp, a far cry from how he unceremoniously dumped Rep. Mo Brooks after the Alabama Republican’s US Senate run appeared poised to finish poorly.
The former president is rallying in Nebraska tonight with businessman Charles Herbster, whose gubernatorial campaign has been besieged by sexual assault allegations. It doesn’t help matters that Trump defied GOP Gov. Pete Ricketts by endorsing Herbster.
It’s not all bad news for Trump.
His backing of author J.D. Vance may help catapult him to an Ohio Senate primary win. And back in Georgia, there’s more promising MAGA news down the ballot. Rep. Jody Hice is in a too close to call race with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the latter of which Trump also blames for his election loss. Former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, who Trump pushed to run long before the GOP establishment supported Walker’s campaign, looks to be headed toward a romp in Georgia’s US Senate primary.
Trump’s endorsements are being closely watched as a proxy for his hold on the Republican Party and how a potential 2024 campaign would fair.