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Trump’s circle is preparing for “a couple of ugly nights” in May

The first major test of former President Donald Trump’s clout comes Tuesday in Ohio’s hard-fought Senate primary, where JD Vance rose to lead after winning Trump’s endorsement.

A win for Vance would remind his party that Trump is still king. But the applause will be fleeting.

The rest of May isn’t looking nearly as good for the former president, who has expended his political capital in a series of contests that are already showing the limits of his post-presidency influence on the GOP.

In a four-week primary stretch from Nebraska and West Virginia to Idaho, Pennsylvania and Georgia, Trump-backed candidates are making their way through difficult races in which the former president’s blessing has not proved to be the rocket fuel some expected. In some cases, his preferred candidates are far behind.

The rest of May isn’t looking nearly as good for the former president, who has expended his political capital in a series of contests that are already showing the limits of his post-presidency influence on the GOP.

In a four-week primary stretch from Nebraska and West Virginia to Idaho, Pennsylvania and Georgia, Trump-backed candidates are making their way through difficult races in which the former president’s blessing has not proved to be the rocket fuel some expected. In some cases, his preferred candidates are far behind.

His record in these competitions is no mean feat given his own past performance. In his only two appearances in one ballot, he twice lost the referendum. During his tenure as President, the GOP lost the House, Senate and White House.

To continue his role as the leader of his party — and to stake his claim for the 2024 Republican nomination — Trump cannot afford a string of reminders that his defeats are beginning to pile up, or that the party base even has limited opportunities ready to unite him to make buck.

“It’s going to be a blow to his perceived power,” said John Thomas, a Republican strategist who works on House campaigns nationwide. “He doesn’t single-handedly control voters unless he’s on the ballot. Is he still a very, very popular figure in the Republican Party? Absolutely, undeniably. But does he have the clout and clout in the Republican primary to be the ultimate kingmaker? … Not definitely.”
Looking at the May calendar, a Trump aide said, “The President could have a couple of ugly nights.”

Even before the polls close, the scarcity of the races Trump is involved in is an indication of his limitations: His endorsements have not cleared the primary fields. In both Ohio and Pennsylvania, opponents of Trump’s backed candidates are comfortable enough to cross Trump Broadcasting of television advertisements Openly questioning Trump’s verdict in his notes.

“Trump made a mistake here,” says a character in one of the spots.

“President Trump is the most charismatic and popular figure in the GOP, and any connection, affiliation with him can be beneficial,” said Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor and Trump adviser.

What the May primary makes clear, Scott said, is that “there’s only so much he can do.”

In North Carolina, Trump’s backing Senate candidate, Rep. Ted Budd, has a comfortable lead. So makes Herschel Walker, Trump’s favorite Senate candidate in Georgia. But the Senate races in Ohio and Pennsylvania aren’t safe bets, and more than that, it will be agony for Trump.

In Nebraska, Charles Herbster, with whom Trump campaigned on Sunday, is in a three-way fight after he was accused of sexually assaulting eight women. The Trump-backed candidate in a high-profile home race in West Virginia is Bobbing in a tight race. In Idaho, Governor Brad Little Polls more than 30 percentage points ahead of his main Trump-backed opponent, while in Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — one of Trump’s well-worn punching bags — may not only punch Trump’s backed candidate, former Sen. David Perdue, but do so by a large enough margin to avoid runoff.

“Georgia is the big one,” said Whit Ayres, the longtime Republican pollster. “Trump took on an incumbent Republican governor and recruited a recently incumbent Republican senator to challenge him. This is the greatest of the challenges Trump has attempted to impose his will on.”

He said, “If he’s able to take out an incumbent Republican governor, that’s a huge statement of his influence. But when he’s unable to take down an incumbent Republican governor with a recently incumbent senator, that’s a big sign of his lack of influence with Republican voters.”

A patchy record in the primaries is something Trump can overcome. Despite his obsession with his win-loss record in the primary, he’ll get a second chance to support — and campaign for — the party’s candidates in November. But due to its deeply divisive nature, there are limits to the places where Trump’s support in a general election would be beneficial.

Few politicians are as adept at explaining away losses as Trump, be it in business or politics. And the party as a whole could benefit in November from a ticket that includes both Trumpist and more traditionalist candidates and draws turnout from all factions of the GOP.

“If you end up with a mess, there are some who believe that’s actually the best thing that could happen to the party this year because it would force them to come together since you’d have a general election ticket made up of people from both sides of the ongoing civil war, if you will,” said Randy Evans, a Georgia attorney who served as Trump’s ambassador to Luxembourg.

Still, the losses Trump will take this month could still do him significant damage — the first post-presidency election-tested confirmation that while Trump is the primary animating factor in the GOP, he is not the only force driving the Primary election moves voters.

“Is Trump an important figure in the party? Yes,” said Ryan Horn, a Republican media strategist. “Is he the only figure in the party? No, and I suspect we’ll see that.”

In West Virginia, where Trump-backed Rep. Alex Mooney is just behind Rep. David McKinley in the race for a newly appointed House seat, political adviser Greg Thomas said, “It’s not like Trump is the kingmaker here. And in Pennsylvania, a longtime Republican Party official said, “What if his candidates don’t win? What is written there? I think it could be the beginning of the end of an era.”

The timing of the primaries is critical to the GOP’s direction — they come after Trump transforms the party, ahead of expected wins, and ahead of a 2024 presidential election in which he may reassert himself.

With the Republicans all but certain to retake the House of Representatives in November, numerous Republican candidates took advantage of the favorable climate and filled this year’s primary. Solomon Yue, Republican National Committee man from Oregon, where 19 Republicans are running for governor in this month’s primary said, “Everyone smells blood in the water and sharks are circling in search of meat.”

This dynamic gives primary voters more choices than ever. Trump has already hunted down four of the 10 House Republicans who voted to retire him, and two high-profile primaries against Republicans he deems insufficiently loyal — Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming and Senator Lisa Murkowski in Alaska — won’t do this Come by August. But what the May primary will reveal – and then the dozens of June primarys – is what kind of Republicans will emerge.

The consequences of the elections will not only play a role in November, but will shape the party for a generation. Vance is only 37, Budd is 50 and Walker is 60 – all have decades of tenure ahead of them if they win. However, just how significant a factor Trump will be — and how successful he will be in the primaries — is far less certain than it seemed when we started elementary school.

By the end of the month, the picture will become clearer. But within several weeks of this month, Republicans will be voting in a fifth of the states, representing the red and blue states and almost every region in the country.

The May primary, Phillip Stephens, a member of North Carolina’s state GOP executive committee, said was “kind of a fork in the road.”

“You have a faction that wants to pull the party way to the right and you have a faction that wants to moderate it and who’s winning I don’t know,” he said.

This dynamic gives primary voters more choices than ever. Trump has already hunted down four of the 10 House Republicans who voted to retire him, and two high-profile primaries against Republicans he deems insufficiently loyal — Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming and Senator Lisa Murkowski in Alaska — won’t do this Come by August. But what the May primary will reveal – and then the dozens of June primarys – is what kind of Republicans will emerge.

The consequences of the elections will not only play a role in November, but will shape the party for a generation. Vance is only 37, Budd is 50 and Walker is 60 – all have decades of tenure ahead of them if they win. However, just how significant a factor Trump will be — and how successful he will be in the primaries — is far less certain than it seemed when we started elementary school.

By the end of the month, the picture will become clearer. But within several weeks of this month, Republicans will be voting in a fifth of the states, representing the red and blue states and almost every region in the country.

The May primary, Phillip Stephens, a member of North Carolina’s state GOP executive committee, said was “kind of a fork in the road.”

“You have a faction that wants to pull the party way to the right and you have a faction that wants to moderate it and who’s winning I don’t know,” he said.

“After the primaries, we know in which direction we are going.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/may-primaries-republican-donald-trump-ohio-00029149?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Trump’s circle is preparing for “a couple of ugly nights” in May

Fry Electronics Team

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