On Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, reporter Aaron Blake profiled many of the worst candidates to have run in the 2022 elections.
One of the common through-lines he identified? Former President Donald Trump backed all of them, sometimes against less controversial candidates in the Republican primary.
Among the candidates, Blake noted, were Christian nationalist and alleged January 6 participant Doug Mastriano for governor of Pennsylvania, for whom "national Republicans effectively conceded this race the moment Mastriano won his primary"; election conspiracy theorist and former Gen. Don Bolduc in the New Hampshire Senate race, who underperformed GOP Gov. Chris Sununu by 25 points; and white nationalist sympathizer Joe Kent, who "knocked out impeachment-supporting Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) in the top-two primary, thanks to Trump’s support, and then proceeded to lose a district Trump had carried by four points."
Blake Masters, Sarah Palin, and J.R. Majewski all similarly blew winnable or even Republican-tilted races — and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) came very close to losing a district that wasn't supposed to be competitive at all.
Then there was Kristina Karamo, a QAnon believer running for Michigan Secretary of State.
"Karamo, who rose to prominence thanks to baseless and false accusations about issues in the 2020 election, lost to the incumbent Democrat by 14 points," wrote Blake. "That’s the largest loss among the most prominent election deniers running for secretary of state, who themselves had a brutal election. It was also larger than the GOP’s deficit for governor (minus-10) and attorney general (minus-eight). Given that this is a state that was close in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, all three results are pretty shocking. But Karamo’s was the worst, and now she’s running for state party chair."
Some of Trump's picks, Blake noted, were so unelectable they couldn't even make it through their primaries, like David Perdue for Georgia governor, Janice McGeachin for Idaho governor, Mo Brooks for Alabama Senate, and North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who was thrown overboard by his own party after two years of causing controversies.
"A series of bad and almost always Trump-aligned candidates cost [Republicans] winnable races," wrote Blake. "The result is that the party actually lost governor’s mansions and failed to take control of the Senate, despite needing to gain just one seat to do so. You could also make a credible argument that its House majority should be at least somewhat bigger, but for shooting itself in the foot in some key races."