According to a report at Vox, Republicans facing stiff challenges in the 2020 election are not abandoning embattled Donald Trump despite recent high profile governorship losses in Kentucky and Louisiana where the president put his prestige on the line in an effort to help the GOP candidates.
Following losses by incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky and challenger Eddie Rispone in Louisiana after the president held multiple rallies for them and tweeted out ‘get out and vote’ encouragement, GOP officeholders who are facing uphill battles to hold their seats in battleground states are not yet willing to part ways with Trump before the 2020 election.
“These losses have prompted questions of whether Trump’s endorsement — in states that went for the president by 30 points and 20 points, respectively — has become less effective than it once was. It’s an issue that could have major implications for 2020, when a slew of Republican senators will be playing defense in swing states like Colorado, Arizona, and North Carolina, even as Trump campaigns in these same places,” the report states while also noting Trump had claimed, ““If you win, they are going to make it like, ho-hum. And if you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.”
According to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who has remained under fire over her support for controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the two high profile losses are being overblown.
“I think the press is reading way too much into those two races,” Collins stated before explaining, “If you look at Kentucky, all the down-ballot races were won overwhelmingly by Republicans. This was a governor who was personally unpopular, who had alienated school teachers, for example. When you look at Louisiana, again, a very conservative Democrat who signed into law a very strict anti-abortion law that’s pending before the Supreme Court now.”
That is not to say that GOP lawmakers running for office in 2020 are putting out the welcome mat for Trump, who is facing impeachment, to come campaign for them — and for good reason.
“Although there were specific circumstances in both states that fueled Democratic victories, Trump’s engagement in these races was also seen as tied to higher Democratic voter turnout,” Vox reports.
Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy agrees.
“The endorsement can be helpful, especially for incumbents looking to avoid primaries. What is less effective is Trump’s ability to drive turnout,” she explained. “Unlike 2018, the pre-election rallies seem to energize Democrats more than Republicans. I suspect there will be less demand for his time next year.”
“Trump’s endorsement is still useful, to me, in states that voted strongly for Trump in 2016 and are likely to do so in 2020,” added Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “How useful these rallies and endorsements are is an open question, but if they do help, red states are where one might expect them to assist Republican candidates.”
In swings states, Trump likely will hold campaign rallies for himself — in nan effort to hold the Oval Office — but local candidates may be nowhere to be found.
“Trump will be campaigning for himself in states like Maine, North Carolina, Arizona, and Iowa. It will be interesting to see how much the Republican senators in those states embrace Trump and campaign with him,” says Kondik.
According to Maine Republican Sen. Collins, who may be most at risk of losing her seat, she doesn’t need Trump.
“I run my own races and don’t rely on endorsements,” she explained.
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