President Donald Trump this week took a victory lap after two candidates he endorsed appeared to pull out close victories.
Both races — a special election for a seat in the House of Representatives in Ohio and the GOP primary for governor in Kansas — remain too close to call after Election Day. Regardless of the ultimate outcome in those individual contests, however, Trump has racked up a remarkable record of presidential endorsements in Republican primaries.
By The Washington Post’s count, he will be 14 for 14 in party primary endorsements since June if Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach hangs on to a slim lead in his race for governor.
“5 for 5!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, referring to the five candidates he endorsed head of Tuesday’s elections.
In addition to Kobach, Trump also backed Josh Hawley for the Senate in Missouri, Bill Schuette for governor in Michigan, John James for the Senate in that state and Lena Epstein, who is running for the House from Michigan. Troy Balderson, the House candidate in Ohio, faced off against a Democrat because it was a special election.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign manager, credited the president with those results.
“Clearly, the president’s support was pivotal in GOP primaries yesterday where we nominated exceptional candidates in states, including Michigan and Missouri, and Kansas where he endorsed the likely victor in the primary for governor,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
The endorsements have run the gamut. It includes Establishment Republicans who had been lukewarm to him, such as Rep. Martha Roby, an Alabama Republican who had abandoned Trump in 2016 after the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged showing him make lewd comments about women 11 years before. With Trump’s backing, Roby beat back a primary challenge last month.
The president also has backed loyalists who have been some of his biggest supporters. Florida has not yet held its primary, but Rep. Ron DeSantis — one of the president’s most ardent supporters in the House — got a boost in the polls after Trump endorsed him for governor.
Bryan Lanza, a political strategist who served as a spokesman on Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election, told LifeZette that Trump’s influence among the party faithful exceeds that of a typical president.
“President Trump is a force in the Republican Party,” he said. “Voters are actually looking for the Trump candidate.”
Skeptics contend that Trump’s has padded his record by jumping onboard campaigns that …