With Donald Trump expected to be the Republican Party's presidential, candidate in 2024, the real test over to see whether his personal popularity with his followers is transferable to GOP candidates will be scrutinized on March 1st as Texas Republicans head to the polls.
Months ago, Republican Glenn Youngkin was able to win the governorship in Virginia by simultaneously getting Trump's endorsement while keeping his distance from the twice-impeached one-term president.
Now comes the real test as far-right candidates influenced by Trump's rhetoric take on GOP incumbents.
According to Bloomberg's Jonathan Bernstein, "Trump’s clout will get an earlier test in some complicated primaries in Texas, where he has endorsed incumbents."
Focusing on the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's bid to remain on office as an example, Bernstein wrote, "Scandal-ridden incumbent Ken Paxton is seeking a third four-year term despite having been under indictment for most of his first two terms, and having much of his staff resign and charge him with corruption in an unrelated case during the current term," and added, "Trump endorsed Paxton, although George P. Bush has broken from his family and supported the former president, and the Freedom Caucus members have been Trump’s closest allies in the U.S Congress. Paxton, for his part, was a leader in lawsuits asking the courts to overturn the 2020 election. It’s unclear what will happen, but Paxton’s renomination doesn’t appear to be a sure thing."
The focus, he notes will be on Paxton and Trump-supporting Governor Gregg Abbott who may not have enough votes in March which could lead to a run-off if he doesn't hit 50 percent.
"If Abbott and Paxton dominate on March 1, Republicans in other states will be more inclined to scurry for Trump’s favor before their own elections. If not? Fewer candidates will care about his support, and even those in the May primaries who already have it might be less likely to center their campaigns around it," he suggested before predicting, "The tests of Trump’s hold on Republicans are sometimes subtle and will take some time to sort themselves out. But it all starts soon, in Texas."
You can read more here -- subscription required