by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former President Donald Trump is entering a crucial phase of his lordship over the Republican Party, with four primaries in four states poised to decide his fate as a feared power broker.
Candidates Trump has endorsed for governor in Georgia, for the Senate in North Carolina, and for the House in Wyoming, plus his planned endorsement for the Senate in Ohio, hold the keys to the former president’s standing as the undisputed leader of the Republican Party. Losses in any of these key nominating contests would embolden Republican politicians to buck his directives and challenge him for the 2024 presidential nomination should he run.
Losses in all four would be an unmitigated disaster for Trump.
“He has to notch some electoral wins,” John Couvillon, a GOP pollster in Louisiana, said Tuesday, “for him to continue to have Republicans scared to cross him.”
Perhaps no race looms larger for Trump and his ability to dictate to Republican officials and mold the party in his image than the May 24 GOP gubernatorial primary in Georgia.
Trump’s hand-picked challenger in this contest, former Sen. David Perdue, is losing to incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp. Trump blames Kemp for his loss in Georgia in 2020 to President Joe Biden. …
… Trump’s chosen candidate is also faltering in the GOP Senate primary in North Carolina, although Rep. Ted Budd’s campaign is highlighting a third-party poll showing the congressman with a lead of 3 percentage points.
Budd was supposed to be a sure thing when Trump endorsed him last June over former Rep. Mark Walker and former Gov. and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. But seven weeks before the May 17 primary, McCrory has the upper hand. Party insiders in North Carolina say there is time for Budd to flip the script but that to do so, he must work harder on the campaign trail to appeal for votes.