- The former president on Wednesday doled out his 100th — and counting — endorsement.
- Trump has already endorsed candidates in 30 different states.
- The common thread: unwavering loyalty to Trump.
Donald Trump made and then surpassed his 100th public endorsement on Wednesday in political races around the country since leaving the White House, according to an Insider analysis of his post-presidential activity.
It’s an important milestone that shows Trump’s enduring staying power inside the Republican party. His list of MAGA-backed candidates also demonstrates a penchant for picking both incumbent and rookie political candidates with one thing in common: absolute loyalty to him.
Trump has also had a hand in races at seemingly every level of government, Insider’s review shows. To date, he has lent his support to candidates running in 43 races for the US House of Representatives, 13 US Senate elections, 14 gubernatorial campaigns, 11 state house contests, seven state senate races, and myriad others down to the county judge level.
He has similarly picked people all over the place geographically, inserting himself into upcoming elections in at least 30 different states — including places where he tried and failed to overturn the 2020 election results like Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan.
Notably, Trump has weighed in on 15 state-government races in Michigan, a battleground where President Joe Biden beat him by less than three percentage points en route to winning the White House.
Insider’s tally as of Wednesday counts 105 political candidates who’ve secured Trump’s public backing.
His most recent statements of “Complete and Total Endorsement!” arrived on Tuesday for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, followed by a Wednesday spree showering praise on Reps. Claudia Tenney and Elise Stefanik of New York, John Moolenaar of Michigan, Morgan Griffith of Virginia, Warren Davidson of Ohio and Vernon Jones, who is running for a seat in the US House left open by retiring Rep. Jody Hice (Trump already announced in March 2021 he was backing Hice’s bid to be Georgia’s next secretary of State).
—Vernon Jones For Congress (@RepVernonJones) February 9, 2022
The former president also late on Wednesday endorsed a pair of Republicans who are running in primaries against incumbents who have taken issue with him: Katie Arrington in her bid to unseat freshman GOP Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Loren Culp, who is challenging four-term Rep. Dan Newhouse, an impeachment supporter from Washington state.
Trump has made it a focal point to find candidates who can try to knock off current GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict him during a pair of historic episodes spanning late 2019 and through early 2021.
Four-term lawmaker Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is the only one of the seven Republican senators who supported conviction and whose name is on the ballot this fall. In that race, Trump endorsed political neophyte Kelly Tshibaka because she is, according to him, “MAGA all the way.”
—Kelly Tshibaka – Endorsed by President Trump (@KellyForAlaska) February 9, 2022
Republican Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard Burr of North Carolina are both retiring at the end of their terms, so they’ve largely been able to shake off Trump’s wrath.
Impeachment supporter Mitt Romney of Utah isn’t up again until 2024. And impeachment supporters Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska won’t face voters again until 2026.
Trump’s been much busier on the House side, recruiting challengers for more than half of the sitting representatives who supported impeaching him.
Republican Reps. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, and John Katko of New York have taken themselves out of the equation by opting to retire rather than battle it out with a Trump acolyte.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has now been censured by state party officials and the Republican National Committee, is running for reelection against Trump pick Harriet Hageman.
Hageman, an attorney who was part of one of Cheney’s previous campaigns, is now fully committed to Trump.
—Harriet Hageman (@HagemanforWY) February 8, 2022
And then there’s Culp, who secured Trump’s endorsement on Wednesday in his race against Newhouse in Washington state’s August 2 primary.
To date, Trump has a mixed record on seeing his endorsements through to victory.
In Virginia, he backed first-timer Glenn Youngkin in May 2021 on the day after the businessman secured the GOP gubernatorial nomination en route to winning an off-year election that has Republicans optimistic about their mid-term chances in 2022.
But two Trump-backed candidates have also fizzled out. House GOP candidate Susan Wright lost her bid for a congressional seat in Texas, while Senate hopeful Sean Parnell had to pull out of his race to win the GOP nomination in Pennsylvania after messy divorce proceedings overshadowed his campaign.
Trump hasn’t yet weighed in again on the Keystone State primary set for May 17, which includes a former ambassador from his administration, Carla Sands, hedge fund CEO David McCormick (who is married to former Trump aide Dina Powell), and Mehmet Oz, the TV celebrity who also has Trump ties.
Bedminster, Mar-a-Lago visits
Like much of Trump’s political career, the process for securing an endorsement has been chaotic.
Some political contenders have tried to win the ex-president’s backing through unsolicited trips to Trump’s private clubs in New Jersey and Florida.
Indeed, spending money at his resorts is one way to get Trump’s attention, and an RNC official told Insider they knew of multiple New Englanders who’ve flocked to Mar-a-Lago this year, uninvited, hoping to bump into Trump or an immediate family member in order to lobby for a thumbs-up photo-op and cookie-cutter blast on his sporadic post-presidential news feed.
Others have hired Trumpworld alumni like ex-campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski, former spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway, and prospective daughter-in-law Kimberly Guilfoyle as campaign consultants in the hopes of scoring personal introductions.
Still, some Republicans wonder if Trump’s stamp of approval still packs the same punch.
“Trump endorsements may have been the be-all-end-all a while ago, but I don’t think they are anymore,” one Republican National Committee member told Insider.
The RNC official said any inkling of a pay-to-play scheme devalues the whole deal. As does backing multiple candidates in the same race, as Trump has considered doing in order to boost his win ratio.
“It wasn’t a very good machine to start with,” the RNC official said of Trump’s endorsement project.