The driving force behind Donald Trump’s election picks in Georgia was simple: the 11,000 votes that cost him the state in 2020.
Those who supported the former president’s efforts to overturn the election results were rewarded with endorsements. Those who didn’t — including Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr — ended up with Trump-backed primary challengers.
But things didn’t go quite the way Trump planned. Kemp won big over former Sen. David Perdue on Tuesday. Carr and Insurance Commissioner John King also won by huge margins. Raffensperger won the primary outright — he didn’t even get forced into a runoff, as many expected.
The fate of state Sen. Burt Jones, whom Trump endorsed in the open race for lieutenant governor, remains unclear. While he was leading his nearest challenger by close to 20 percentage points, with 96 percent of the expected vote in, it wasn’t clear if Jones would avoid a runoff: He was at 50.1 percent, a hair above the threshold.
Trump calls to congratulate Herschel Walker for Georgia Senate primary win
Trump’s House picks in Georgia weren’t much more successful. While all 5 of the Republican incumbents he endorsed won, none of them really faced a competitive race — three of them, in fact, were unopposed. Trump also backed two candidates in open seat House primaries: Jake Evans in the 6th District and Vernon Jones in the 10th. Both finished in second place and moved on to June 21 runoffs.
The lone bright spot in Trump’s Georgia record? His recruited candidate for Senate, Herschel Walker. The former football star maintained a steady lead in the polls since the early days of his campaign and easily sailed to his GOP nomination.
In Alabama, Trump ditched his original pick for the Senate, Rep. Mo Brooks, after the congressman’s campaign appeared to be flailing. But Brooks — one of Trump’s strongest supporters in Congress — launched a late comeback and made it to the June 21 runoff, where he’ll face first-place finisher, Katie Britt.