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ICYMI: Trump could shake up key Senate races with endorsements [Roll Call]

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Roll Call: Trump could shake up key Senate races with endorsements
By Bridget Bowman
June 10, 2021

Key Points:

  • Former President Donald Trump’s recent endorsement in the North Carolina Senate race is the latest sign that he is looking to influence primaries in competitive states, in a shift from recent election cycles.
  • If the North Carolina race is any indication, that’s starting to change as Trump looks to wield his influence over the GOP now that he is out of office and no longer tethered to the party infrastructure.
  • The endorsement also came as Florida Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, has encouraged Trump to hold off on endorsing candidates until after primaries are over.
  • McCrory and former Republican Rep. Mark Walker, who is also in the race, have both said they’re staying in despite Trump backing Budd.
  • Walker said in a lengthy statement posted on Twitter that Trump had received “bad advice” from his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and that it was difficult to watch Trump’s speech at the convention.
  • Multiple GOP strategists were not surprised that Trump’s endorsement has not cleared the field in North Carolina, given McCrory’s and Walker’s political experience and ambitions. And it may not clear the field in other states.
  • In Georgia, Trump has encouraged Walker to challenge Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. But state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would not drop out of the race if Walker launched a campaign, saying that while he would like Trump’s support, “I’m running no matter what.”
  • And Trump’s decision to take sides in a primary may not stop debates over which candidate is the staunchest Trump ally. It certainly hasn’t in North Carolina.
  • After Trump’s announcement Saturday, McCrory slammed Budd as “a Washington insider who has done more to oppose the Trump agenda than anyone in this race,” highlighting Budd’s votes on which he broke with Trump.
  • Trump has shown interest in Arizona’s Senate race, vowing to campaign against Republican Gov. Doug Ducey if he runs, since Ducey pushed back on Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen…Trump has also criticized Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
  • “By fighting over Trump, Republican Senate candidates are showing general election voters that they’re out of step with their interests,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
  • “They’re attacking each other and exposing the flaws in each of their potential nominees. And they’re raising the length and the cost of their primary campaigns, which will ultimately leave their nominee more badly damaged,” he added.

See also: National Journal: Trump is sabotaging the GOP’s Senate prospects; Axios: Pro-McConnell PAC prepared to intervene in 2022 primaries; Charlotte Observer (Opinion): Donald Trump just threw NC’s U.S. Senate race into chaos. Democrats should be delighted

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