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Politics Trump's kingmaker status faces test in Ohio special election

09:05  02 august  2021
09:05  02 august  2021 Source:   msn.com

'Sore loser' Trump reaps fruits of election lies in Arizona

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GROVE CITY, Ohio (AP) — The midsummer race for Ohio ’s traditionally Republican 15th Congressional District wouldn’t typically get much national attention. But it’s suddenly becoming a high-stakes test of former President Donald Trump ’ s endorsement power, which he has wielded as a cudgel to silence opposition in the GOP. Although low-turnout special elections aren’t perfect measures of his strength, a second loss in two weeks could chip away at Trump ’ s self-proclaimed kingmaker status heading into next year’s midterm elections .

WASHINGTON — On Saturday, Donald Trump will try to do in Ohio what he couldn’t do in Pennsylvania in February — pull a Republican across the finish line in a tight special election . The Columbus suburbs will host the last major partisan electoral test before the crucial November Republicans have been scrambling to hang onto a seat they’ve held for 35 years in the face of surging Democratic enthusiasm. Ohio ' s 12th Congressional District tilts to the right, but GOP outside groups have spent nearly million to support Republican Troy Balderson, a state representative whose

GROVE CITY, Ohio (AP) — As soon as it became clear last week that a Texas congressional candidate backed by Donald Trump would be defeated in a special election, the former president's allies quickly shifted their attention to Ohio to ward off another embarrassing loss.

FILE - In this July 24, 2021, file photo former President Donald Trump speaks on a variety of topics to supporters at a Turning Point Action gathering in Phoenix. The midsummer race for Ohio's traditionally Republican 15th Congressional District wouldn't typically get much national attention. But it's suddenly becoming a high-stakes test of Trump's endorsement power, which he has wielded as a cudgel to silence opposition in the GOP.  Trump has endorsed Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist who is among 10 Republicans jockeying to replace former GOP Rep. Steve Stivers, who retired from Congress earlier this year. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this July 24, 2021, file photo former President Donald Trump speaks on a variety of topics to supporters at a Turning Point Action gathering in Phoenix. The midsummer race for Ohio's traditionally Republican 15th Congressional District wouldn't typically get much national attention. But it's suddenly becoming a high-stakes test of Trump's endorsement power, which he has wielded as a cudgel to silence opposition in the GOP. Trump has endorsed Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist who is among 10 Republicans jockeying to replace former GOP Rep. Steve Stivers, who retired from Congress earlier this year. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Make America Great Again, a super PAC chaired by Trump's former campaign manager, quietly purchased $300,000 in Ohio television advertising. The buy was intended to provide a late-stage boost to another Trump-backed candidate facing a crowded field of Republicans in a special election on Tuesday.

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President Donald Trump predicted a 'tremendous victory' for Ohio state Senator Troy Balderson who is running for election for an open congressional seat. Trump claimed Balderson 'they guy will do thing' and dismissed the senator' s opponent.

Trump endorsed coal lobbyist Mike Carey in the special election for Ohio ' s 15th Congressional District in early June, throwing his weight behind a political novice in a race against a host of other Republicans, including multiple local elected officials. "He needs to keep that ability intact. Ohio is a huge test for that." Some Republican operatives, however, cautioned reading too much into two special elections in congressional races, given the lack of attention paid to each contest. Still, one strategist acknowledged that since Susan Wright' s loss to Jake Ellzey in the race for Texas' 6th Congressional District, the

The midsummer race for Ohio's traditionally Republican 15th Congressional District wouldn't typically get much national attention. But it's suddenly becoming a high-stakes test of Trump's endorsement power, which he has wielded as a cudgel to silence opposition in the GOP.

Low-turnout special elections aren't perfect measures of Trump's strength and he remains a powerhouse in GOP politics, revealing over the weekend that his political action committees are sitting on a massive $100 million pile of cash. But a second loss in two weeks could chip away at Trump's self-proclaimed kingmaker status heading into next year's midterm elections.

“If it happens a couple times, candidates and political professionals — they’re not stupid — they’re going to say you can win this race even if you’re not endorsed by Trump,” said Ohio Republican consultant Ryan Stubenrauch.

Susan Wright Loses Texas Election, A Failing Test for Trump

  Susan Wright Loses Texas Election, A Failing Test for Trump Tuesday's election served as an early gauge of Trump's hold on the GOP and Wright's loss could be an early sign that the former president doesn't have the same hold on the party that he had while in office. State Representative Jake Ellzey led Wright by 2,530 votes with 98 percent of the votes counted when Wright conceded the race, according to the Texas Secretary of State's office.Wright began serving as the representative for Texas' 6th Congressional District after her husband, Representative Ronald Wright, died of COVID-19 in February.

Ohio election law stipulates that if the margin is less than 0.5 percent, there will be an automatic recount. Read more about Ohio ’ s recount rules here. McCaskill, Hawley set to face off in Missouri Senate seat. With 74 percent of precincts reporting, Ohio ' s special election is neck and neck. O’Connor is still ahead, but leads Balderson by less than a point. Both candidates appear to be doing well in their geographical bases, with O’Connor running up the score in Franklin County and Balderson overperforming in Zanesville and Newark.

High-stakes Ohio special election too close to call. President Trump declared victory already but the Republican candidate has a razor-thin lead in what should have been an easy victory in the Republican district. Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor may have been battling each other for months, but even after Tuesday’ s special election in Ohio ’ s 12th Congressional District, the race is still too close to call -- regardless of the GOP candidate' s declaration of victory.

In other cases, Trump’s decision to throw his weight behind candidates with baggage, including several running against GOP incumbents who crossed him by voting in favor of his second impeachment, has put him at odds with other party leaders. Some Republicans fear his moves could complicate efforts to win back majorities in the House and Senate next year.

In Ohio, Trump has endorsed Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist who is among 10 Republicans jockeying to replace former GOP Rep. Steve Stivers, who retired from Congress earlier this year. He faces a formidable lineup, including three current state lawmakers: state Sens. Bob Peterson and Stephanie Kunze and state Rep. Jeff LaRe. Former state Rep. Ron Hood is also a contender.

LaRe is backed by Stivers, who held the seat for a decade. Hood, meanwhile, has generous support from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's political action committee, along with religious conservative Ruth Edmonds, a minister and former Columbus NAACP president.

‘Not a foregone conclusion:’ Republicans confront limits of Trump’s endorsement

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Tuesday' s contest in Ohio is not a primary, but a special election to determine who will take the House seat held by retired Rep. Pat Tiberi. A poll conducted earlier this month by the Emerson College Polling Society and released Monday found that the upstart Democrat in the race, 31-year-old Danny O’Connor, is holding Trump took the district by 11 points in 2016. During a canvassing event Monday featuring actress and Cleveland native Kathryn Hahn, O'Connor seized on the polls, urging volunteers to press on through the evening even when they're tired or thirsty for the sake of change in Washington.

Trump recorded a robocall for Carey and brought the former lobbyist on stage at a Trump rally in Ohio in June. On Tuesday, the same day the ads were purchased, Trump sent an email doubling his support for Carey, Columbus Dispatch reported. The former president has put all of his political branding and his nascent desire to run for president again in 2024 on his status as Kingmaker in the Republican Party. A second defeat for a Trump -backed candidate in as many weeks could seriously undermine Trump ’ s aura of invincibility among party believers.

In an interview, Carey described the pitch he made to Trump when the two met for what he thought would be a photo-op earlier this year.

“I said, ‘Listen, Mr. President, you’ve been somebody that supported a lot of political candidates over the course of your lifetime, and many of them let you down.’ I said, ‘I’m kind of in the same boat — I mean, on a much smaller scale,’" Carey recalled. "After about an hour and 20 minutes, he said, ‘I’m all in. I’m going to endorse you and do whatever it takes to get you over the finish line.’”

Trump, who headlined a rally with Carey in June, reupped his endorsement last week, decrying candidates who have used his likeness or cited him in ads to try to woo voters. “I don’t know them, and don’t even know who they are. But I do know who Mike Carey is — I know a lot about him, and it is all good,” Trump said in a statement. "Let there be no further doubt who I have Endorsed!”

About 560,000 voters are registered to vote in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, which leans Republican. Half of its voters live in parts of Franklin and Fairfield counties, primarily suburban Columbus communities that Republicans for generations could count on, but where Trump lost support in 2020. In the sparsely populated remainder of the district, Trump improved over his 2016 performance, as he did throughout rural Ohio.

Where'd you go, Ohio? How a swing state went red

  Where'd you go, Ohio? How a swing state went red BUCYRUS, Ohio — The old adage in politics used to be “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation,” and for the most part, since the start of the 20th century, the Buckeye State had earned that adage, only twice failing to support the national presidential winner — once in 1944 and again in 1960. © (Shannon Venditti / for the Washington Examiner) Ohio’s politics have changed dramatically between 2006 and 2020. It's not conservative populist nor moderate Democrat. It is Jacksonian in nature and one to watch in 2022. That all changed last November when Joe Biden became the first person since 1960 to win the presidency without carrying Ohio.

It can be tough to draw firm conclusions from a pair of low-turnout special elections, especially in Ohio, where the large field of candidates could split the vote in unexpected ways.

But Trump has put great personal stock in his endorsements and frequently touts his record of wins. His formal backing remains highly coveted, with candidates making pilgrimages to Trump's homes in Florida and New Jersey to win his favor.

Some advisers have urged Trump to be more judicious in his choices and avoid wading into races where there is no clear front-runner to preserve his reputation. And many expect that Trump will be less apt to weigh in on crowded primaries going forward.

In Texas, Trump had backed Susan Wright, the widow of Republican Rep. Ron Wright, who died in February after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Trump released multiple statements touting his “Complete and Total Endorsement," recorded a robocall late in the runoff and the Make America Great Again super PAC made a $100,000 ad buy.

Nonetheless, she lost to fellow Republican Jake Ellzey, who sought to overcome Trump’s snub by raising more money and highlighting his other supporters, including Rick Perry, a former Texas governor who was also Trump's energy secretary.

Trump has since insisted the loss was really a win, telling Axios: “The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win."

Trump-backed candidate wins GOP special election primary for House seat in Ohio, AP projects

  Trump-backed candidate wins GOP special election primary for House seat in Ohio, AP projects The Republican race was closely watched in its final days after the loss last week of a Trump-endorsed candidate in a special House election in Texas.The race was closely watched in its final days after a Trump-endorsed candidate lost in a special House election in Texas last week. A Carey loss would have raised further questions about Trump’s ability to steer a stable future for the GOP.

In other cases, some in the party fear Trump could do damage by backing candidates who may do well in Republican primaries, where Trump supporters dominate, but then have trouble winning general elections.

Trump, for instance, has urged football great Herschel Walker to run for the Senate in Georgia, despite significant baggage. A recent Associated Press review of hundreds of pages of public records tied to Walker’s business ventures and his divorce found accusations that Walker repeatedly threatened his ex-wife’s life, exaggerated claims of financial success and alarmed business associates with unpredictable behavior.

Max Miller, a former Trump White House and campaign aide who is challenging Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republican who voted for Trump's impeachment, has also come under scrutiny. Gonzalez has significantly outraised Miller, and a recent Politico investigation found Miller has a record of speeding, underage drinking and disorderly conduct.

Trump has also met with candidates looking to oust Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who has emerged as a top Trump critic. The former president backed Kelly Tshibaka in her bid to unseat Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial and who is facing reelection next year.

It's unclear whether the loyalty many Republican voters feel toward Trump personally will transfer to candidates he backs. At a meeting last week of the Grove City Patriots, a new Republican club in the Columbus suburbs that heard from three of the candidates on the ballot Tuesday, nearly everyone was a Trump supporter. Few, however, said they cared about his endorsement.

Tim Ruzicka said that he and his wife, Julie, who co-founded the group, are “totally Trump people," but that his backing wouldn't influence their pick. “For this, no. Everybody stand on your own merit. May the best candidate win," he said.

Julie Ruzicka echoed her husband’s sentiments, saying she planned to study up on the candidates all weekend before casting her vote.

“I’m totally Trump all the way, but that’s not necessarily who I’m going to choose,” she said. “You know, Trump’s chosen bad people in the past — not his fault, but they flip once they get in there — so I’ve got to look deeper."

Mike Murray, an 80-year-old retiree, agreed that Trump’s endorsement doesn’t mean as much to him as maybe the former president would hope.

“I mean, I like him, but I don’t go by other people’s endorsements all the time,” he said. “I kind of pick out my own – because most of them are, oh, 'I’m going to fight for you,' but what does that mean? I like Trump, but I have my own mind.”

___

Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Colvin reported from Washington.

Trump Boasts of 'Tremendous Win' in Texas Special Election Where His Endorsed Candidate Lost .
Trump suggested on Saturday that his endorsement of losing candidate Susan Wright for Texas' 6th congressional district was successful. The special election initially took place in May after GOP Representative Ron Wright died from COVID-19 in February, and two other Republicans, State Representative Jake Ellzey and Wright's widow, Susan Wright, ran to take over his seat.Trump endorsed Susan Wright, but she lost by more than six-and-a-half points during a runoff race that took place in late July. Nonetheless, Trump told Bongino on Saturday that Texas was a "big win.""We had a big win in Texas.

usr: 0
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