Even though he is out of office, Donald Trump continues to influence politics as much as anyone else, and this week's primary races, particularly in Wyoming, have highlighted that.
On Tuesday, incumbent Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney was trounced by Trump-endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman as she lost by more than 30 percentage points with more than 90% of the vote counted.
According to analysis by the Washington Post, that loss appears to be the second worst for a House incumbent in the last 60 years.
Hageman was endorsed by Trump after Cheney became a vocal opponent of the president’s claims that the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen.
“Trump has a very important name right now within the Republican Party. It’s a key thing and you can see it in a lot of contests, a lot of Republican primaries right now,” said Seth Masket, director of the Center for American Politics at the University of Denver. “There are a few cases where just his endorsement seems to get a lot of donors interested in helping out and getting that candidate a lot of donors being very enthusiastic.”
So far this year, former President Trump has endorsed more than 200 Republican candidates. For comparison, former President Obama endorsed 81 ahead of the first mid-term primary following his last year in office in 2018.
In many races, Trump-backed candidates have either run unopposed or against little-known, poorly-funded opponents, but in others, the endorsements have highlighted the continued strength of the Donald Trump brand. Trump’s endorsement helped J.D. Vance win a crowded Ohio GOP Senate primary in May, and it did the same for Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, where he won the GOP Senate primary in June.
“We don’t see this sort of thing, usually, from other former presidents,” said Masket. “It’s actually pretty rare to see this. You might have to go back to someone like Teddy Roosevelt 100 years ago to find someone this interested in shaping and re-shaping a party after he left office.”
With Liz Cheney’s defeat in Wyoming’s Republican primary on Tuesday, eight of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have either lost their primary races or are retiring.