Did Trump's Endorsements Work in the 2018 Midterms?
In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats took the majority in the House of Representatives, while Republicans gained seats in the U.S. Senate. On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump took credit for the many surprise Republican victories in key U.S. Senate and state governor's races. Did his endorsements really make that much of a difference?
Democrats and the liberal media will claim that they did not. As of Wednesday morning, only 49 of the candidates Trump endorsed won their elections, and 30 of them lost, giving Trump a 62 percent win rate — not bad, but not impressive either.
The president had a similar record on governor's races (60 percent — his candidates won 9 and lost 6) and in Senate races (55 percent — his candidates won 11 and lost 9).
Some races are more important than others, however. Trump endorsed many candidates in blue states who did not have much chance of winning, and he endorsed many in red states who were always going to win. The central endorsements came in purple states, where a Republican win can serve as a bellwether for the 2020 presidential election. In these states, Trump-endorsed candidates delivered, and in important ways.
Here are a few key takeaways from the 2018 midterms that bode well for Trump in 2020 and the power of his endorsement.
Florida has long been considered a quintessential purple bellwether state. The third most-populous state in the nation, Florida voted for the eventual presidential winner in the last six presidential elections.
Every single Trump-endorsed candidate in Florida won his election, and many were expected to lose. Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) won the U.S. Senate seat in a hotly contested race against incumbent Bill Nelson.
While Democrats flipped two U.S. House seats, Trump had not endorsed either of the Republican candidates in those races. Indeed, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) had distanced himself from Trump, and Maria Elvira Salazar had tiptoed around the president's issues.
All of Trump's endorsed House candidates — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and candidates Ross Spano and Michael Waltz — won their respective elections.
Critically, Trump also endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), who was considered a long-shot in the gubernatorial race. As the 2020 redistricting looms, governor's races took on massive importance. DeSantis's victory means Republicans have the edge in drawing Florida's congressional districts, helping to keep the state red.