One of the biggest topics on this year’s campaign is what the Trump-backed Republican nominee’s military will do, how much influence the former president still has, and whether his seal of approval will be relevant to the wider electorate as well as his supporters influential.
Mr. Trump officially endorsed 174 of the 430 Republican House candidates, and an analysis of the results for more than half of the counties showed he didn’t give them much.
In counties with Trump-backed candidates, Republicans’ share of the vote increased by 2.1 percentage points compared to the 2020 presidential election. That’s well below the party’s 8-point gain in counties without Trump-backed Republicans.
The differences were greatest in districts defended by Democrats, but still evident in districts controlled by Republicans ahead of polling day.
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Trump-backed candidates fared worse in the Senate race, with the Republicans’ share of the vote falling. In districts where they challenged incumbent Democrats, it fell 1.2 percentage points.
But when the Republican challenger to the incumbent Democrats did not gain Trump’s support, the Republicans’ share of the vote increased by 7 percentage points.
A similar pattern was seen in the race to overthrow Democratic governors and secretary of state. Here, Republican vote shares fell in areas where candidates had Trump support and rose in areas where they didn’t.
While Trump’s endorsement may not help Republican candidates, those who doubt or deny the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s 2020 election are doing well.
Of the 430 Republican candidates in the House, 224 had previously denied or questioned the legitimacy of that election. Those candidates fared relatively well, increasing the Republican vote in their districts by 6.7 percentage points (compared to 4.9 percentage points for other Republican candidates).
But that didn’t seem to help Republicans gain seats. Opponents of the election have been relatively successful in defending Republican seats, but have done no better than other Republicans against incumbent Democrats.
However, many who rejected the election won their race. Of the 33 new Republicans in Congress, 21 cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. That includes seven of the 12 Republicans who won House seats from Democrats.
Two of the 12 were no strangers to the building they now call their office. On January 6 last year, both George Santos (NY-3) and Derek Van Alden (WI-3) turned up outside the Capitol for a pro-Trump anti-election rally that culminated in the U.S. Legislature’s protests. Violent attack.
For Republican Senate candidates, denying the 2020 presidential election could do them more harm than good. Their vote share fell by 2.4 points, while candidates who did not deny Joe Biden’s legitimacy as president gained 6.2 points.
The analysis is based on results from more than half of the counties, so it may not represent the final result, but it at least gives us a rough idea of what’s going on as we look ahead to the next election in 2024.
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