According to Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, Donald Trump put his reputation on the line in the past two weeks to help save one Republican governor’s job and win the governorship in a state that went to him by over 20 points in 2016 and it blew up in his face.
In the wake of Trump failing to persuade voters on Louisiana to oust Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and replace him with multimillionaire businessman Eddie Rispone, the Politico correspondent said Trump’s attempt to demonstrate his pull with voters “backfired in dramatic fashion.”
“The latest black eye came on Saturday, when Trump’s favored candidate in Louisiana, multimillionaire businessman Eddie Rispone, went down to defeat. The president went all-in, visiting the state three times, most recently on Thursday. Earlier this month, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin lost reelection after a similar presidential effort on his behalf. Of the candidates Trump backed, only Tate Reeves in Mississippi won,” Isenstadt wrote. “The losses raise questions about Trump’s standing as he heads into what will be a grueling 2020 campaign. By throwing himself into the three contests — each in states that Trump won by double-digits in 2016 — the president had hoped to gain a modicum of political momentum at a perilous moment of his presidency.”
With Trump increasingly looking at impeachment, wins in Kentucky and Louisiana would have shored up his support among Republicans who, till now, have feared to cross him.
Now Republicans running in tight races in swings states likely will see his coattails may not save their jobs.
“Trump attempted to turn each contest into a referendum on himself — especially Louisiana. Earlier this week, the president pleaded with rally-goers to dump Edwards,” the report states. “Trump’s activity in the Louisiana contest was particularly extensive: In addition to the rallies, he called into conservative radio stations on Rispone’s behalf, recorded get-out-the-vote robocalls and videos, and sent out a stream of tweets savaging Edwards. On Saturday, the president wrote several tweets encouraging Louisianans to cast their ballots for Rispone.”
“The Louisiana defeat intensified concerns from some in the president’s orbit that he spent too much political capital on the three off-year, non-federal races,” Isenstadt explained. “Some people close to the president worried that he would take the brunt of the blame for losses and that winning each of the races was an extraordinarily tall order. Other Republicans were surprised that the president held a last-minute rally on Thursday night given that the race wasn’t a sure thing.”
For their part, some Republicans are pushing back at the failures being attributable to the president’s own unpopularity.
“This loss has nothing to do with President Trump. He wasn’t on the ballot,” claimed Lionel Rainey, a Louisiana-based GOP consultant. “It’s up to the candidate to convince the majority of voters to vote for him. Rispone’s campaign failed to do that.”
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