Shocked Republicans lay blame at Trump’s feet as ‘red tsunami’ fails to materialise

‘Tonight’s results lie squarely at the feet of Donald J Trump,’ one Republican strategist tells The Independent

Eric Garcia
Wednesday 09 November 2022 07:50 GMT
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Republican strategists have blamed former president Donald Trump for the fact that a supposed “red tsunami” failed to materialise as midterm results began to roll in on Tuesday evening.

Throughout the country, races that were thought to be layups for Republicans instead favoured Democratic candidates. In New Hampshire, retired brigadier general Don Bolduc lost handily to Senator Maggie Hassan.

While Ted Budd won North Carolina’s Senate seat, Bo Hines, Mr Trump’s preferred candidate in the congressional seat Mr Budd was vacating, lost to Democrat Wiley Nickel. In addition, Sandy Smith, whom Mr Trump also backed, lost to Don Davis in North Carolina’s 1st district.

Elsewhere, Tim Michels, Mr Trump’s anointed pick to run for governor of Wisconsin, lost to incumbent Governor Tony Evers, while Mehmet Oz, the former television host and physician, lost Pennsylvania’s Republican-held Senate seat to Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.

“Tonight's results lie squarely at the feet of Donald J Trump,” a Republican strategist who requested anonymity told The Independent. “Had he not endorsed extremely flawed candidates in the primary, we would be having an amazing night tonight. Instead, we are losing very winnable races.”

Similarly, Republicans failed to flip seats in Virginia’s 7th and 10th district, while Republican Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio lost his race on election night. Republicans also came up short in Rhode Island’s 2nd district, which they hoped to flip.

Meanwhile, even though all of Arizona’s votes have yet to be counted, pro-Trump former news anchor Kari Lake trailed significantly behind Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the gubernatorial race. In addition, Senator Mark Kelly, held a significant lead against Republican venture capitalist Blake Masters.

Former President Donald Trump greats guests at Mar-a-lago on the day of the 2022 midterm elections
Former President Donald Trump greats guests at Mar-a-lago on the day of the 2022 midterm elections (AP)

Mike Madrid, a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, told The Independent that Republican strategists who were upset did not have room to complain.

“You can’t complain against what you enable,” he said over direct message.

Doug Heye, a former Republican National Committee spokesperson, said that Mr Trump held some blame but there were other larger factors in play, such as the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade in its Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organisation. He added that it was tough to blame Mr Trump for the Dobbs decision “in that most Republicans would’ve nominated similar justices. But candidate quality? That’s Trump.”

Emotional Fetterman lost for words after winning Pennsylvania Senate race

In addition, Representative Lauren Boebert, one of Mr Trump’s biggest apologists, looked to be on the verge or losing, if not facing a closer-than-expected race as of Wednesday morning.

At the same time, not all Republicans whom Mr Trump backed lost. Along with Mr Budd in North Carolina’s Senate race, JD Vance won Ohio’s open Senate race and Senator Marco Rubio, a former critic of Mr Trump when they ran against each other for president, handily won re-election.

But elsewhere, Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker in Georgia is locked in a tight race with Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. Mr Trump pushed Mr Walker, a legendary former running back and Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Georgia, to run and readily endorsed him. Mr Walker may have to face Mr Warnock in a runoff race.

Conversely, some of the Republicans who irritate the former president performed better. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who rebuffed Mr Trump’s entreaties to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, easily did away with former state legislator and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.

Mr Trump had endorsed former Senator David Perdue in the gubernatorial primary, but Mr Perdue severely underperformed.

Similarly, Governor Ron DeSantis, whom Mr Trump endorsed in 2018 but whom he sees as a potential threat for the 2024 Republican nomination for president, handily beat former Democratic congressman Charlie Crist.

The election results come as Mr Trump has hinted that he will announce a candidacy to seek a second term for president in 2024. The race would come when eight Democratic Senators are up for re-election.

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