Does a Trump Endorsement Hurt GOP Candidates?

What do all these losing candidates have in common? Donald Trump campaigned for them.

Republican candidates keep losing when Trump comes to town

In 2017, Republicans laughed at Democrats’ embrace of the moral victory of coming close. In 2018, he held 44 "Make America Great Again" rallies and tweeted endorsements of 83 candidates. In all, 91 Republican candidates got some kind of nod from Trump according to NPR. But Trump's actual success record fell well short of a "complete victory." Overall, approximately 58 percent of the candidates he endorsed have won so far. Overall, of the Trump-endorsed 17 candidates for governor, ten won and seven lost. In 2019, in losing red states even after Trump got involved, Republicans might not even have that.

Louisiana Governor

John Bel Edwards (D): 51.3% ✔

Eddie Rispone (R): 48.7%

Kentucky Governor

Andy Beshear (D): 49.2% ✔

Matt Bevin (R): 48.8%

Nevada Senate

Jacky Rosen (D): 50.4% ✔

Dean Heller (R): 45.4%

Nevada Governor

Steve Sisolak (D): 49.4% ✔

Adam Laxalt (R): 45.3%

Alabama Senate

Doug Jones (D): 49.9% ✔

Roy Moore (R): 48.4%

Wisconsin Governor

Tony Evers (D): 49.6% ✔

Scott Walker (R): 48.5%

Wisconsin Senate

Tammy Baldwin (D): 55.4% ✔

Leah Vukmir (R): 44.6%

Using tweets as a stand-in for endorsements, in primaries, Trump's chosen candidates fared remarkably well, with a record of 27-1. But in the general election, where Republican base voters weren't the only ones deciding the outcome, Trump's scorecard is mixed, with 53 wins, 36 losses and two races not yet decided so far. That's counting candidates he tweeted endorsements for or who spoke onstage at MAGA rallies with him. There were also two special House elections in 2018, which one of his candidates won and one lost. Trump crowed about gubernatorial wins in important 2020 swing states including Ohio and Florida, but he failed to acknowledge losses for Republicans in Colorado, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.