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Texas special election shows what a Trump endorsement is worth



TX – What’s an endorsement from former President Donald Trump worth? It could help some candidates in the right-leaning, pro-Trump districts. However, it’s no guarantee of a resounding victory — even in a district full of Republicans.

Trump waded into the 6th Congressional District’s special election in Texas, which took place over the weekend. He endorsed Susan Wright, widow of former Rep. Ron Wright, who died of coronavirus-related complications in February.

Wright received more votes than anyone, but in a 23-candidate race, she fell well short of the 50% needed to win the election outright. She got 19.2% of the vote to advance to the runoff election, an indication that Trump’s endorsement is no guarantee of success.

Republicans had a great turnout in the weekend election. Their 11 candidates combined got nearly 62% of the vote. That’s an improvement over the 52% of the vote that Ron Wright got in his 2020 reelection bid in the district.

However, it also shows that the overwhelming majority of Republicans who voted in the election did not go with the Trump-backed candidate. Less than one-third of the Republicans who voted went with Trump’s pick. That wasn’t because of limited notice either. Trump’s endorsement went out on April 26 for a May 1 election.

There may be a few reasons that Trump’s endorsement didn’t result in a resounding victory for Wright.

For starters, Trump is no longer on social media. Banned from sites such as Facebook and Twitter, he has a muted reach. There are email lists, such as the Save America PAC and the 45Office press email lists, in which Trump can make statements. However, there are presumably far fewer people on these lists than there are on social media. (Not to mention, many of those Trump emails may go to junk because his campaign bombarded people with emails and texts around election time.)

Additionally, Trump is less popular than he was, say, one year ago. His unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate hurt his case, as did some of his supporters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 because they bought his lies that the election was stolen from him. Trump had a 34% approval rating and 62% disapproval rating as he left office, according to Gallup, so he’s not exactly a beloved former president. If “behated” was a word, it may describe him well.

That’s unfortunate because he was strong on issues such as immigration and abortion, but the reality is that people do care about character in politics.

Trump will continue to endorse candidates and berate others, but not all Republicans will take his advice. So while candidates may be happy to receive the former president’s endorsement, they shouldn’t count on it to translate to a resounding victory.