Months ago, Pat McCrory, a former governor of North Carolina, also made clear that he would not exit the Senate race just because Trump had endorsed his rival. “If supporters of President Trump want his agenda to be supported in the US Senate, they should not vote for Ted Budd,” McCrory tweeted in June.
It’s a reminder that while Trump might be the most important person in the Republican Party, he doesn’t have universal control. He can elevate candidates, but that doesn’t mean that he alone can get them over the finish line.
Take Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, whose endorsement from Trump didn’t stop Katie Britt from entering the Senate primary there, nor did it prevent retiring Senator Richard Shelby from promoting Britt, his former chief of staff.
And there’s Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, whose refusal to throw out his state’s election results in 2020 earned him a top spot on Trump’s enemies list. Trump persuaded another Republican, former Senator David Perdue, to challenge Kemp. And the Georgia polling indicates that Kemp still enjoys an edge in the primary.
2022 is a stage for 2024
A number of Republican governors have been downright ornery in expressing their lack of interest in running for Senate seats this year: Larry Hogan in Maryland, Chris Sununu in New Hampshire, Doug Ducey in Arizona.
Hogan said he had “no interest whatsoever” in the job. Sununu, who has been dismissive of Republican senators, said he didn’t want to just be a “roadblock” in Washington. And Ducey has repeatedly said he’s not running.
The job none of them has ruled out? President of the United States of America.
What caught our eye this week was a digital ad running in New Hampshire, ostensibly attacking Senator Maggie Hassan, the incumbent Democrat who is up for re-election in 2022. The ad, paid for by Senate Republicans, accuses Hassan of voting to “give stimulus checks to voters in jail.”