How Trump-backed candidates fared on the busiest primary day


Donald Trump’s preoccupation with his endorsement win-loss record was never more apparent than in Pennsylvania.

The former president endorsed state Sen. Doug Mastriano for governor in the final week before the Republican primary, despite the efforts of state Republicans to convince him otherwise. As a leading election denier who worked vigorously to overturn the 2020 election results, Mastriano was a natural for Trump to choose. He was also a high-risk nominee, one whom many in the party believe will get crushed in November.

Trump knew this and endorsed him anyway, leading to GOP grumbling that he was putting his own vanity ahead of the party. In their view, Trump picked Mastriano because he was leading in the polls, and wanted a guaranteed victory in Pennsylvania, where Trump’s other statewide endorsee, Mehmet Oz, might lose.

Mastriano was one of more than two dozen candidates on the Tuesday ballot who have Trump’s endorsement. Since most of them were safe Republican incumbents, he’ll come out of the May 17 primaries with a winning record.

In North Carolina, where Trump’s backing of Rep. Ted Budd for Senate seemingly came out of nowhere, Budd pulled away from the field in the final weeks of the campaign to capture the GOP nomination. But Rep. Madison Cawthorn was defeated in his bid for a second term, despite Trump’s last-minute plea to primary voters to give him a second chance.

In Idaho, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s loss to Gov. Brad Little was an even more humbling defeat for the former president. Despite Trump’s endorsement. McGeachin lost the primary by a wide margin, marking the second consecutive week that a Trump-backed candidate for governor fell short. In Nebraska’s May 10 primary, Trump ally Charles Herbster finished second despite a Trump rally for him in the run-up to the election.

Trump did not make any endorsements in Oregon, a state he lost by 16 percentage points in 2020.

Here is a look at the Trump-endorsed candidates who won Tuesday.

Idaho wins

Senate

Sen. Mike Crapo

Won with 69 percent of the vote.

In the wake of the Access Hollywood scandal in 2016, Crapo issued a statement saying he could no longer support Trump. “His repeated actions and comments toward women have been disrespectful, profane and demeaning,” he said. “I urge Donald Trump to step aside and allow the Republican party to put forward a conservative candidate like Mike Pence who can defeat Hillary Clinton.”

Five years later, several weeks after Crapo voted to acquit in Trump’s second impeachment trial, Trump released a statement endorsing the Idaho senator in his 2022 reelection.

ID01

Rep. Russ Fulcher

Unopposed.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

Kentucky wins

Senate

Sen. Rand Paul


Won with 86 percent of the vote.

Once a presidential primary election rival to Trump, Paul secured the former president’s backing in April 2021. Trump said he was endorsing the senator for fighting “against the swamp in Washington, the radical left liberals, and especially the destructive RINOS, of which there are far too many, in Congress.” That didn’t stop the former president from sticking it to Paul a few months later after the senator funded an Ohio special election candidate other than the one Trump had endorsed.

“Do you think Rand Paul will apologize for spending nearly $1 Million on another candidate in Ohio’s 15th District congressional race after I had already endorsed Mike Carey?” Trump said in a statement. “In any event, Mike went on to an unprecedented victory, more than doubling the second placed finisher and Rand’s candidate came in a distant third out of eleven. Rand is a different kind of guy, but I like him a lot anyway, and I’m proud to have endorsed him when he ran. Do you think he learned his lesson?”

KY01

Rep. James Comer

Unopposed.

KY02

Rep. Brett Guthrie

Won with 78 percent of the vote.

KY04

Rep. Thomas Massie


Won with 75 percent of the vote.

Massie bucked Trump on some votes early in his term, which led Massie’s 2020 primary challenger to accuse him of being disloyal to Trump. So how did the congressman respond? He purchased ad time in South Florida on Fox News to run an ad designed to capture the president’s attention while he was at Mar-a-Lago. After opening with a photograph of Massie and Trump flashing grins and thumbs-ups, the spot attacked Massie’s primary challenger as “a Trump-hater.”

By May of that year, when Massie threatened to delay the House’s $2 trillion Covid-19 relief package, Trump had had enough. He dismissed the congressman as a “third-rate Grandstander” and called for him to be kicked out of the GOP. Now, however, Trump views him differently. According to the endorsement Trump issued last week, Massie is a “first-rate defender of the Constitution.”

KY05

Rep. Harold Rogers

Won with 83 percent of the vote.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

KY06

Rep. Andy Barr

Won with 88 percent of the vote.

North Carolina wins

Senate

Rep. Ted Budd


Won with 59 percent of the vote.

Before Trump unexpectedly announced his support, Budd had been lagging in polls against former Gov. Pat McCrory. But Trump’s endorsement and a wave of outside spending powered Budd to a lead he never lost in the crowded Republican Senate field, quieting the early speculation that the former president had erred in supporting the congressman. Budd also voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

NC03

Rep. Gregory Murphy

Won with 76 percent of the vote.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

NC05

Rep. Virginia Foxx

Won with 77 percent of the vote.

She voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

NC07

Rep. David Rouzer

Won with 79 percent of the vote.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

NC08

Rep. Dan Bishop

Unopposed.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

NC09

Rep. Richard Hudson

Won with 79 percent of the vote.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

NC10

Rep. Patrick McHenry

Won with 68 percent of the vote.

NC13

Bo Hines

Won with 32 percent of the vote.

Trump’s endorsement of a 26-year-old who didn’t live near the newly drawn congressional district he was seeking stunned many state Republicans in March, as there were several other candidates who hailed from the area. “He is a proven winner both on and off the field, and he is going to help win a huge Republican majority in the House of Representatives,” Trump said when he backed Hines, a former college football player, in March. The former president also held a rally with Hines, Budd and Cawthorn in April, where he reaffirmed his support for the candidates. POLITICO rates the race as a toss-up in November.

Pennsylvania wins

GOVERNOR

Doug Mastriano

Won with 45 percent of the vote.

In a last-minute endorsement that rattled members of Pennsylvania’s Republican party, Trump backed Mastriano, a leading force in trying to overturn the 2020 election results who was pictured outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. “There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for Election Integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano,” Trump said last week.

Many Republicans fear their far-right nominee cannot win the general election and could damage party candidates from his perch at the top of the ticket.

Senate

Mehmet Oz


Outcome still to be decided.

Initially, Trump backed Sean Parnell in the Senate primary, but Parnell dropped out of the race two months later. Trump then delivered his endorsement to Oz in April, citing his celebrity as a television show host: “He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected, and smart.” The endorsement caused a backlash among some Republicans who never believed Oz’s conservative bona fides. The physician never took a decisive lead, even after even after receiving Trump’s backing. With 95 percent of the expected vote in, Oz led former hedge fund CEO David McCormick 31.2 percent to 31.1 percent.

PA08

Jim Bognet

Won with 69 percent of the vote.

Bognet was a Trump administration appointee in the Export-Import Bank. In his endorsement statement, Trump commended him in bringing “manufacturing jobs back to Northeast Pennsylvania.” Bognet will challenge Democratic incumbent Matt Cartwright in November.

PA10

Rep. Scott Perry


Unopposed.

Perry, chairman of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, served as a behind-the-scenes facilitator who connected Department of Justice lawyer Jeffrey Clark with Trump as part of an effort to overturn the 2020 election results. In his endorsement of the congressman, Trump said Perry is an “America First warrior” and a “a tremendous advocate for our MAGA agenda.”

Perry voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

PA11

Rep. Lloyd Smucker

Unopposed.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

PA13

Rep. John Joyce

Unopposed.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

PA14

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler

Unopposed.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.

PA16

Rep. Mike Kelly

Unopposed.

He voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes.