Trump Endorsement Continues to Be Worth Gold in Republican Primaries

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    Trump-backed candidates are winning 58-1 following recent state Republican primaries in Nebraska and West Virginia. Trump-backed Rep. Alexander Mooney brought home the Republican nomination for West Virginia's Second Congressional District. Mooney is currently serving in West Virginia's First Congressional District and ran against Rep. David McKinley. McKinley has been in office since 2011 and is part of the state's Second Congressional District; however, redistricting forced incumbent congressmen to compete in the primary, as the state transitions from having three seats to just two. Sixty-six percent of the Second Congressional District, which covers the northern region of the state, comprises the district McKinley has been serving. McKinley, a Republican, voted for the passage of the Democrats’ infrastructure bill, in contrast to Mooney, who was against the bill. McKinley declared that the bill “is good for West Virginia,” saying that his vote in favor “is not a vote for anyone but West Virginia.”

    In a political-ad campaign, Mooney attacked McKinley, saying he was a traitor to West Virginians when he voted to support an infrastructure package that was a “trillion-dollar spending spree.” Mooney also attacked his opponent for “voting for the January 6 anti-Trump witch-hunt to attack our president and our values.” Mooney will be facing Democrat candidate Barry Wendell in November's general election. “Donald Trump loves West Virginia, and West Virginia loves Donald Trump,” declared Mooney in his victory speech, according to the Associated Press.

    Rep. Carol Miller, who is currently representing the state of West Virginia's Third Congressional District and received an endorsement from Trump, was awarded the Republican nod for West Virginia's First Congressional District. Miller will face the uncontested Democrat candidate Lacy Watson in the election. Watson was an unsuccessful Democrat candidate for the state's Third Congressional District in 2020. “Carol is pro-coal, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-Trump through and through, and is prepared to tackle the opioid epidemic that's affected countless West Virginians,” Lara Trump, the senior adviser of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., previously stated, according to Ballotpedia.

    In Nebraska, Trump-backed candidate Rep. Adrian Smith won the Republican primary in the state's Third Congressional District. Smith has been in his post from 2007 to the present and swept the challenger Mike Calhoun handily. But the first bump in the road of Trump-endorsed candidates came in the Nebraska gubernatorial race on Tuesday, when Trump-backed Charles Herbster, a wealthy farmer, lost his attempt to win the Republican nomination. Herbster, who was in attendance at the launch of Trump's presidential campaign in 2015, was defeated in the race by Jim Pillen, an agricultural entrepreneur currently serving Nebraska's Third District on the Board of Regents. The race also featured Brett Lindstrom, who campaigned as the moderate candidate.

    Herbster’s campaign was hit in April by allegations that the campaigner had inappropriately touched several women. Herbster’s campaign “unequivocally” denied the allegations in a statement that called the accusations “a political hit-piece built on 100% false and baseless claims.”

    Pillen, who won the Republican nomination for incumbent Republican Governor Pete Ricketts’s position, raised $8.4 million in the course of his campaign, in contrast to Herbster's $11.8 million–which included $11.5 that he contributed himself–and Lindstrom's $2.5 million, as per the most recent financials.

    The results of Tuesday's election have Trump-endorsed candidates winning 58-1 in the midterm primaries so far. All 22 candidates who received the 45th president’s endorsement in Ohio and Indiana won their races on May 3; the 33 candidates endorsed by Trump in Texas either won their primaries or made it to the runoffs. In the May 3 races, the most notable winner was J.D. Vance in Ohio, who was awarded the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate with the assistance of a Trump endorsement. Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said that J.D. Vance had done a tremendous amount of work and had great political ability, which put him in the position to win the endorsement of President Trump. However, it was the support of Donald J. Trump that was the most significant factor in the candidate’s success, according to many insiders. He was in fourth place and single digits in the polls, but, in just two weeks, the endorsement helped propel him to a dominant first-place finish.

    The next primaries take place on May 17 in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oregon.

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