Trump keeps wading into hot Republican primary battles to back the establishment candidate

Donald Trump. Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump keeps wading into contentious Republican Senate primaries.
  • This is not typical of a president.
  • He has endorsed the establishment candidate in Mississippi, Alabama, and Nevada over more Trumpian, outsider challengers.

President Donald Trump gave his endorsement in a hotly contested Nevada primary on Friday, marking the third time he has waded into a contentious Republican primary since late last year.

Each time, Trump has voiced support for the establishment incumbent over the challenger running on an outsider, Trumpian platform. It’s not typical for a sitting president to endorse candidates in primary contests.

His endorsement had immediate results on Friday. After he tweeted, “It would be great for the Republican Party of Nevada, and it’s unity if good guy Danny Tarkanian would run for Congress and Dean Heller, who is doing a really good job, could run for Senate unopposed!,” Tarkanian, who some polls showed was locked in a close race with Heller, dropped out, opting to take Trump’s advice and instead seek a House seat.

A Trump endorsement in a Mississippi race late last month was followed with a similar result. After Trump announced his support for Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, his primary challenger, Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, opted to end his challenge and instead enter the race for the state’s other Senate seat, which will be vacated after Republican Sen. Thad Cochran steps down next month.

[email protected] of Mississippi has been a great supporter and incredible help in getting our massive Tax Cut Bill done and approved,” Trump wrote. “Also big help on cutting regs. I am with him in his re-election all the way!”

Late last year, Trump jumped into the Alabama Senate race to endorse then-GOP Sen. Luther Strange. Republican leadership had urged Trump to get involved to help prop up their guy, who was locked in a tough battle with both Republican Rep. Mo Brooks and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Trump’s endorsement and support for Strange did not help push the candidate over the top, as Moore ended up winning the primary by a significant margin. Following allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers when he was in his 30s, Moore lost the special election race to Democrat Doug Jones in December.