While Americans are watching how individual candidates perform in races across the country there is no doubt that the country is also watching former President Donald Trump this primary season. The former President has been using his considerable political influence to help candidates but also test the waters to see just how much power he still wields over the conservative base as he hints at another presidential campaign in 2024.
While the true test of Trump’s political might will come this November, a number of high-profile primary races may offer a glimpse of what to expect.
Among what are expected to be some of the most contentious and expensive races in the country, Trump-endorsed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker won the Republican nomination. The former University of Georgia football star has been leading in the polls since announcing his campaign. Trump even offered Walker an endorsement prior to launching an official Senate campaign.
However, one of the best tests for Trump came down to the Georgia gubernatorial primary between incumbent Brian Kemp and Trump-backed former Senator David Perdue. Trump has repeatedly blamed Kemp for not supporting his claims of widespread fraud in the state in the 2020 election. In 2020, the traditionally red state was won by Democrat Joe Biden and lost both Senate seats to Democrats, something that Trump has often blamed Kemp for. Kemp will face off against Democrat nominee Stacey Abrams in November, Abrams ran unopposed in the primary.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is also no stranger to Trump’s wrath, is projected to survive an aggressive primary challenge from former Congressman Jody Hice, who was also endorsed by the former President.
On the Democrat side, five candidates are seeking the nomination to take on Raffensperger in November to become the Peach State’s top elections official: state Rep. Bee Nguyen, state Sen. Floyd Griffin, former Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves, former Cobb County Democratic Party Chair Michael Owens, and former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler.
Also in Georgia, pro-Trump firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene won renomination out of a crowded field of primary challengers. While Trump may be pleased that MTG will head to the ballots in November some of her Republican counterparts may not be too thrilled. Conservatives have accused Rep. Greene of stoking divisions within Congress and resorting to theatrics instead of diplomacy to get her point across, issues that Republicans say do little to lead to actual accomplishments for the Republican Party.
Moving over to Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton who was endorsed by former President Trump won his Republican primary runoff election against Land Commissioner George P. Bush, setting him up for a third term. Paxton only secured 42% of the vote during the March primary, falling short of the 50% needed to secure the nomination and forcing him into a runoff against Bush, the next highest vote-getter, with 22%.
In Arkansas, former White House Press Secretary and one of the first candidates to secure Trump’s endorsement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders won the state GOP nomination for the office her father once held.
Sanders beat out former talk radio host and podcaster Doc Washburn in a landslide, winning over 83% of the vote. She will run against nuclear engineer and minister Chris Jones, who won the Democrat nomination for governor.
In Alabama, the GOP Senate primary appears to be headed for a runoff election between Katie Britt, a former aide to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, and Congressman Mo Brooks. Trump initially endorsed Brooks for Senate but ultimately rescinded the endorsement in March over Brooks’s past argument that the GOP grassroots should move on from the 2020 election. Britt has consistently held the lead in the polls, but below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
So far, a vast majority of Trump-endorsed candidates have won their primary battles but the Republicans will need more than just Trump’s support to successfully help the Republican Party win back majorities in the House and Senate.