Donald Trump‘s political muscle has been exposed by his frequent flexing throughout GOP primaries.
Governor Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Attorney General Chris Carr, three of the previous president’s top targets, thrashed their opponents in Georgia on Tuesday.
Next door in Alabama, Republican Senate candidate Mo Brooks withstood Trump’s withdrawal of support to reach a run-off election.
And the high-profile defeats came just a week after Trump’s favorite Representative Madison Cawthorn was defeated in a re-nomination battle for a western North Carolina House district, while Mehmet Oz, the TV doctor who has Trump’s blessing, is still awaiting his fate in a photo-finish Pennsylvania Senate primary.
Trump’s endorsement often ensures less than a third of the primary electorate, a recurring data point that GOP operatives across the country are paying close attention to as Republicans battle over the future of their party and the former president prepares to run for the White House for the third time.
Rank-and-file Trump’s power is being eroded by Republican voters as well.
Chris Russell, 40, a Republican voter from Marietta, Georgia, said Tuesday afternoon, “Now that he’s out of it, he’s not in the position that he was in.” “I believe he has significantly calmed down.”
Russell, who backed Trump in 2020, and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson in 2016, voted for Kemp in a primary against Trump’s appointee, former Georgia Senator David Perdue.
Russell added of Trump, “I don’t appreciate how he tried to muscle his way back towards the conclusion of the  election.” “I voted for Kemp because I’m happy with how he’s governed the state generally, and I admire how he stood up to Trump.”
Despite Tuesday’s setback, Trump will almost certainly end the primary season with a high “batting average” — the political term for the proportion of endorsements won. According to the NBC political unit’s tracker, he had sponsored candidates in 66 House, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns, losing only three times. He tapped an incumbent in the majority of cases, which meant he was taking a big risk.
Incumbents tended to win their contests regardless of whether Trump endorsed them or their opponents. And his candidates faced little or no opposition in many cases, including a half-dozen House members in Texas who ran unchallenged in the primary.
Trump cited his total endorsement record, which now includes seven defeats, including four statewide elections in Georgia on Tuesday, in a post on his Truth Social media site on Wednesday.
“Political endorsements were held in a large and successful evening. Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama have all won their games “He wrote while also congratulating Herschel Walker on his big Senate primary victory in Georgia. “100 wins, 6 losses (some of which were impossible to win), and 2 runoffs,” Trump said of his overall record.
Although a message requesting a response from a Trump official was not returned, one friend described Tuesday night as “rough.”
“We expected Perdue to lose, but not in such a dramatic fashion.
Yeah, the [previous] president was worried that Hice wasn’t doing enough to stop Raffensperger “added the Trump friend, who was not permitted to comment on the record about the former president’s private chats. “However, Trump remains the party’s leader. There’s a reason why everyone wants his primary endorsement. This is significant. However, it only matters so much if you run a lousy campaign.”
According to one person close to Trump, he has primarily been burned by running for state office, as he did in Georgia on Tuesday.
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“I believe there will be a noticeable difference in his record in Senate/House primaries versus gubernatorial primaries after the primary season is done,” the insider stated through text. “National politics and national endorsements matter a lot less in state contests than they do in federal races, where local issues tend to reign supreme.”
Trump’s problem isn’t only that he’s losing contests; it’s also that he’s losing credibility. It’s his candidates’ dismal showing in some of the most important races. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Perdue barely registered, garnering 21.8 percent of the vote.
According to numerous GOP insiders who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity, his frequent involvement in Republican contests is spreading his brand out, alienating old supporters, and developing a playbook for undermining his influence in the party.