Trump Sacrificed His Endorsement Record for Georgia Revenge Fantasy

In his biggest test yet during this midterm primary season, former President Donald Trump suffered a major hit to his endorsement record with his hopes of avenging himself against the Georgia Republicans who refused to help him overturn the results of the 2020 election.

On Tuesday, Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger both won Republican primaries for reelection despite Trump's attacks against them and the former president's endorsement of their opponents.

Trump had been ramping up one of his toughest 2022 battles in Georgia ever since Kemp and Raffensperger repeatedly rejected his claims about the presidential election being stolen. Trump lost the state to President Joe Biden by a little more than 12,000 votes.

The losses suffered by former Senator David Perdue in the governor's race and Representative Jody Hice in the secretary of state's race on Tuesday not only crushed Trump's dreams of getting back at his GOP rival but also further damaged his track record of endorsing winning candidates—a reputation Trump has prided himself on and attempted to flex as evidence of his influence over Republican voters.

Donald Trump Georgia Revenge
Former President Donald Trump's endorsed candidates in two Georgia primary races both lost to their incumbent opponents, who are known Trump rivals. Above, Trump raises his fist at the end of a rally to support Republican Senate candidates at Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia, on December 5, 2020. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

After sweeping the earlier primary races this season, Trump touted his 55 successful picks, saying telling CBN: "My record is unparalleled, my endorsements, it's totally unparalleled. Nobody's ever had a record like this. I'm almost unblemished."

However, the former president then saw notable losses in North Carolina with Representative Madison Cawthorn, Nebraska with Charles Herbster and Idaho with Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.

Tuesday's results in Georgia only further blemished Trump's previously strong record.

Because Trump's ongoing feuds with Kemp and Raffensperger are rooted in the 2020 election, their victories also provide some insight into the minds of Georgia's Republican voters, who might no longer be on Trump's side.

"If Kemp receives more than 50 percent [of votes]," as the governor did on Tuesday, Republican strategist Jay Townsend told Newsweek, "it will mean that a majority of Republican primary voters want to put 2020 in the rearview mirror."

Kemp had 72 percent of the GOP vote at the time the race was called by the Associated Press, while Raffensperger received 52 percent of the vote.

"Perdue had no rationale for running against Kemp other than his assertion that Kemp allowed Biden to steal an election," Townsend said. "The votes Perdue receives will reflect the percentage of Georgia Republican primary voters who still believe that."

With only 22 percent of the vote at the time the race was called, Perdue's stunning loss suggests that Georgia Republicans are prepared to reject Trump's claims.

Townsend added that Kemp's victory, paired with Raffensperger's, is "very good news" for other Republicans mounting a 2024 presidential campaign, especially Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, because it suggests that Trump's power over the GOP is beginning to wane and that a new White House path is being opened for MAGA hopefuls who aren't Trump.

Update 5/25/22, 11:59 a.m. ET: This story was updated to reflect Raffensperger's victory.