Former President Donald Trump made various endorsements in races across the country in the 2022 midterm elections, but with Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker losing in the Georgia Senate runoff, the ex-president’s record in high-profile races has come under scrutiny.
In light of Walker’s defeat, combined with Trump’s 2020 loss in the Peach State, former Bush campaign staffer Scott Jennings predicted that “Georgia may be remembered as the state that broke Trump once and for all.”
In some of the most high-profile races, the Trump-endorsed candidate failed to deliver a victory. Trump went a dismal 2-14 in gubernatorial, Senate, and secretary of state races in swing states he lost in 2020, even though many analysts believed the midterm conditions favored the Republicans.
It was widely believed Trump had attempted to gain momentum for a 2024 presidential bid by having high-profile endorsements win in major races in the preceding midterm elections, but as the former president announced his bid last month, he had few major victories to brag about.
With the midterm elections fully completed, here is a look back at some of the biggest failed Trump-endorsed candidates of the 2022 elections.
In one of the Senate seats Republicans seemed most poised to recapture in 2022, Trump endorsed former football player Herschel Walker in September 2021. While Walker easily won the Republican primaries, he struggled to overcome accusations of threatening violence against women and paying for the abortions of his alleged unborn babies despite being anti-abortion in public. Walker went on to lose to incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in a runoff election after neither candidate reached 50% in the initial general election.
Thought to be a future star in the Republican Party, Kari Lake was endorsed by Trump in September 2021. The charismatic former television news anchor was an unapologetic supporter of the former president and made election integrity a key focus of her campaign. She faced a tougher challenge in the Republican primary than expected but went on to advance to the general election.
In the general election, Lake appeared to have an advantage over Democrat Katie Hobbs, who refused to even debate Lake, but the Republican then lost in the November election. Lake has not conceded the race and is actively pursuing lawsuits against alleged fraud and misconduct.
In the Senate seat that Democrats most sought to flip, Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz. The former television doctor had been seen as the more centrist candidate in the GOP field but had other troubles, including being accused of being a carpetbagger from New Jersey. Oz narrowly won the GOP primary, but he went on to lose in the general election to Democrat John Fetterman despite Fetterman suffering a significant stroke during the campaign, which brought fitness for office into the spotlight.
In the first year of ranked choice voting in Alaska, Trump endorsed former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) for the House seat vacated by late Rep. Don Young (R-AK). In both the special election and the general election, Palin and fellow Republican Nick Begich split the vote in a bitter campaign. Because of the ranked choice voting system, not enough Begich votes put Palin as their second choice in both elections, paving the way for Democrat Mary Peltola to win the seat.
In one of the few losses for Trump-endorsed candidates in the primaries, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) was the youngest member of Congress elected in 2020, and his youth caught up to him. Before the primary election, photos and videos leaked of Cawthorn, including those showing him wearing women’s lingerie and showing him nude.
In Trump’s endorsement of Cawthorn, he even acknowledged that the congressman had “made some foolish mistakes” but asked voters to give him a second chance assuring that the mistakes would not happen again. Some of those “mistakes” included his own allegations that some lawmakers in Washington, D.C., were having orgies and doing cocaine.
The bevy of missteps led to Cawthorn losing a primary challenge from state Sen. Chuck Edwards. Edwards went on to win Cawthorn’s seat in the general election.
Cawthorn has recently been embroiled in a controversy over cryptocurrency, with the House Committee on Ethics issuing him a roughly $15,000 fine Tuesday for insider trading on cryptocurrency.