Trump and the Midterm Elections
Does former president Donald Trump's political endorsement make an impact?

Trump and the Midterm Elections

In many states, this week marks primary elections for political candidates trying to represent their party in the Congressional elections coming up in November 2022. For some Republican candidates, an important endorsement (public statement of support) comes from the former president, Donald Trump. So far, Trump has endorsed candidates in at least forty Republican primary races. Does receiving Trump’s nod of approval affect a candidate’s success? Here, Election Central takes a closer look at Trump’s influence in a few states. 

Ohio 

The retirement of Republican Senator Rob Portman leaves an empty seat that Ohio Republicans and Democrats alike are scrambling to fill. There are seven Republican candidates hoping to become Ohio’s next senator. On April 15, 2022, Trump endorsed one of them: Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance. The endorsement came as a surprise, since Vance campaigned strongly against Trump in 2016 and has made many unfavorable statements about him in the past. But since receiving the endorsement, Vance’s support has risen to 23 percent in the polls. This put him well ahead of the other GOP challengers. Vance’s support among Ohio primary voters has more than doubled since March.  

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, Vance won the crowded Republican primary with a plurality of the votes. His 32 percent was the highest, followed by John Mandel at 23.9 percent. In this case, Trump’s endorsement seems to have helped push Vance to the win. 

Georgia 

Trump’s endorsement seems to have had less of an impact in Georgia where current governor Brian Kemp is up for re-election. Kemp is facing four challengers in the Republican primary. Among them is former Senator David Perdue, who has received Trump’s endorsement. But Kemp is still leading strongly in the polls. Trump recently donated $500,000 to the Get Georgia Right PAC, which is a group working to defeat Kemp. Even so, the current governor is still leading by an average of about fifteen percent in the polls. Georgia’s primary is scheduled for May 24, 2022. 

Pennsylvania 

Trump has weighed in on a Pennsylvania Senate race as well as the Republican primary for the governor’s race. In the Senate race, Trump endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz. But this endorsement has done little to affect Dr. Oz’s standing with voters. And while Trump has not endorsed a GOP candidate for the governor’s race, he has spoken out against one of the eleven candidates–Bill McSwain. McSawin is a former U.S. attorney who did not support Trump’s public questioning of the 2020 presidential election. Despite this “anti-endorsement,” McSwain was ranked second in a recent GOP Caucus Straw Poll. Pennsylvania’s primary is scheduled for May 17, 2022. 

The Endorsement Impact 

The perceived importance of Trump’s support may not only affect the 2022 elections. Public opinion on Trump’s influence can also affect the former president’s future success as a political candidate. If a candidate that he endorses loses, some voters may view Trump as less influential. A recent poll showed that 45 percent of Republicans will be more likely to vote for a candidate with Trump’s endorsement, while 44 percent would not let Trump influence their decision. 

What Do You Think? Imagine that you are a voter. Would you consider endorsements when deciding whether to vote for a particular candidate? Explain.
Valerie Cumming

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