With the last election of the cycle finished, let’s see how well Donald Trump’s endorsements did. Using data from Ballotpedia, here’s the final numbers:
Overall, Trump did very well overall: 80% of his endorsements for federal office or governors won. But he endorsed incumbents in 74% of the races he chose to get involved in, and most of those were in deep, deep Red states, so he clearly ran up his numbers with those.
It’s when he wandered into endorsing candidates in open seats or when his endorsee faced a challenger that Trump stumbled mightily. In races for open seats with no incumbent running in the Senate, House or Governor’s races, he won just 62%. (A note on this: in one of those races–the Pennsylvania Senate race, Trump lost twice. His first choice in the GOP primary, Sean Parnell, dropped out before the primary due to a domestic abuse accusation, and Mehmet Oz lost the general.) When he endorsed a challenger to an incumbent–either Democrat or Republican–he won just 11 races out of 35.
If you knock out his incumbent endorsements, Trump had barely an impact in any race–and overall it was negative influence. In the 73 non-incumbent House, Senate and Governors races, he won just 46%: 34 for 73. Given that this year’s races were very heavy on Senate seats in Deep Red states–15 states like Alaska, Idaho, Utah and Alabama–where the GOP candidates enjoyed double-digit leads in the polls, Trump’s endorsement seems to have killed GOP hopes of winning many seats.
The lesson: Trumpism doesn’t play in most states. However, in GOP primaries and in Deep Red States, Trump still plays… for now. But if Republicans want to win in the future, one of the problems they have to rid themselves of the
237 800 pound orange baboon in the room.