Trump pulls strings behind the scenes to help loyal 2022 candidates

Earlier this month, the former president hired North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorne to persuade former Representative Mark Walker to end his campaign for the Senate and run instead for the House of Representatives, which could help Trump’s favorite Republican Senate primary candidate, Rep. According to people familiar with the matter, Ted Budd.

Trump has also held talks in recent weeks with MAGA-aligned Republicans who are considering challenging GOP governors he has been disappointed with. Former president urged former Georgia Senator David Perdue to run against incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, who has resisted Trump’s efforts to reverse his narrow 2020 loss in the state to then-candidate Joe Biden. And he was responsive to the possibility that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Linda Blanchard might challenge Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

The former president known for his revenge told colleagues he blames Ivy for the decision of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park committee earlier this summer to prevent him from organizing the July 3 rally on a retired World War II warship.

Previous presidents usually leave the spotlight after leaving office, refraining from introducing themselves to their party’s primaries. But someone close to Trump likened the former president to demagogue patriarch Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” for his efforts to retaliate against Republicans who criticized him for fomenting the January 6 rebellion in the Capitol or for his vote to pass the $1.2 trillion dollars to Biden. Infrastructure plan. This person said Trump was “pulling the strings behind the scenes and guiding the candidates in the right direction.”

Trump’s spokesman, Taylor Bowdwich, said the former president’s endorsement is “without a doubt the strongest force in American politics” and that Trump continues to receive endorsement requests from Republican candidates up and down the ballot. “When he endorses candidates, they win,” Bowdwich told CNN in a statement, while declining to comment on Trump’s conversations with individual candidates or potential candidates.

US Senate seat in North Carolina

Cawthorne, the 26-year-old congressman and self-styled aide to Trump on Capitol Hill, endorsed Walker’s Senate campaign in February, four months before Trump surprised attendees at the Republican convention in North Carolina with an endorsement of Representative Ted Budd.

But at Trump’s request, Cawthorne recently called Booker to urge him to run for the House of Representatives rather than continue to challenge Budd in the Republican Senate primary, according to people familiar with the matter. Recent polls have shown that Walker is trailing Budd and former Governor Pat McCrory, the other GOP Senate candidate, and Budd’s supporters believe he could win over McCrory if he doesn’t have to split the vote with Walker.

Budd secured Trump’s endorsement after voting against congressional testimony for the 2020 elections on Jan. 6 and 7, and supported a lawsuit led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to challenge Trump’s lost swing states. (This case was dismissed by the Supreme Court, which said Texas lacks litigation status.)

Walker, who declined several requests for comment, is now considering running for the House of Representatives, according to people familiar with his thinking. The deadline for applications in North Carolina is next month.

Georgia Governor’s Race

In Georgia, the former president is said to be focused on creating a “Trump Card,” according to a Republican Party activist there, with approved candidates running for governor, Senate and other public positions. Trump has already endorsed former comeback star Hershel Walker in the Senate against Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and other GOP candidates, and Representative Judy Hayes against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Ravensberger, who has debunked Trump’s allegations of widespread fraud after the 2020 election.

Former soccer player and political candidate Herschel Walker interacts with former United States President Donald Trump before Game 4 of the World Championships between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves Trust Park on October 30 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Purdue lost his Senate seat to Democrat John Osoff in a run-off earlier this year. But he is now considering running for governor against Kemp, although some of his former supporters believe the costly primaries could damage the party ahead of a potential showdown in 2022 against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Purdue allies, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, asserted that the former senator is the only Republican who can unite the party since Trump criticized Kemp, saying in September that Abrams “could be much better” than the Republican governor. Trump assured Purdue that he would endorse the former senator in the primary race against Kemp, according to people familiar with the matter. Bowdwich declined to discuss Trump’s “private conversations” with current or potential candidates.

Alabama Governor Race

And in Alabama, Trump has already endorsed Rep. Moe Brooks, a fierce ally who told Trump supporters ahead of the January 6 “Stop Theft” rally, “Today is the day that American patriots start taking names and kicks.”

Despite Trump’s early endorsement of Brooks, the Alabama congressman suffered from poor fundraising and waning momentum in the Senate’s Republican primary, which the former president noted. Not only was Trump upset when Brooks was booed at a rally he held with him this summer, but he recently complained about Brooks’ campaign to allies, according to three people familiar with the situation.
Trump welcomes Rep. Moe Brooks on stage during "  Save America "  Gathered on August 21, 2021 in Coleman, Alabama.

To make matters worse for Brooks, Katie Brett, the former president and CEO of the Alabama Business Council, beat Brooks in fundraising, garnering the support of the party’s Chamber of Commerce wing and garnering the endorsement of her former president, retired Republican Senator Richard Shelby, who is seeking her seat. Brooks and Blanchard. If Blanchard, the former ambassador to the first lady of Melania Trump’s hometown of Slovenia, leaves the Senate race to challenge Ivey, she can help Brooks unite Trump supporters and overcome the threat posed by Brett.

Last month, Blanchard met Trump at his Florida resort in Mar-a-Lago. In a statement, it neither confirmed nor denied that they discussed the possibility of a governor running.

“I have been honored to appoint President Trump as his ambassador, and I will continue to support the President and his number one agenda for America,” Blanchard said. “Our recent visit to Mar-a-Lago was very enjoyable and we look forward to doing it again soon.”

Republicans prepare for next year

Soaring consumer prices, recent supply chain shortages and Biden’s poor approval rating have Republicans feeling confident that they will retake the House and Senate in next year’s midterm elections.

But some strategists worry that Trump’s desire for re-litigation in the 2020 election may force the party to raise candidates who look back, embracing his dangerous lies, rather than focus on the more pressing issues facing voters in the 2022 midterm elections.

His choices could put him at odds with the official partisan organizations devoted to winning conservative palaces, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate Republican National Committee and the Republican Congressional National Committee do not support Republican candidates in the open primaries, and the Republican Governors Association supports incumbents like Kemp.

Trump takes the stage for "  Save America "  Gathered on August 21, 2021 in Coleman, Alabama.

“Republicans have a historic opportunity in 2022: The Biden presidency is crumbling, the public numbers have never been this wide compared to the Democrats, and (GOP leader Kevin) McCarthy and (Senate Republican leader Mitch) McConnell are recruiting good candidates,” he said. Scott Reed, longtime Republican Party strategist. “But you know, Trump keeps looking in the rearview mirror.”

In at least two cases, Trump’s approvals have already caused headaches for party officials hoping to win back the Senate. Pennsylvania Senate candidate Sean Parnell, who won Trump’s support in September, suspended his campaign this week after Judge Lori Snell, his estranged wife, granted primary physical custody and sole legal custody of the couple’s three children amid accusations that Parnell was physically abusive towards her. and their children. And in Georgia, Walker, a Trump-backed Senate candidate, faced allegations of domestic violence from his ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend and a third woman. Walker and Parnell vehemently denied the allegations against them.

Bowdwich said Parnell spoke with Trump on Monday to inform him of his plans.

Bowdwich tweeted: “#PASen remains a top priority for President Trump and MAGA for 22 – mobilizing our movement behind America’s first best candidate is critical.”

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