WASHINGTON (AP) – It was supposed to be a red wave that former president Donald Trump could triumphantly ride to the Republican nomination as he prepares to launch another White House run.
Instead, Tuesday night’s disappointing results for the GOP are raising new questions about Trump’s appeal and the future of a party that has fully embraced him, seemingly at its peril, while at the same time giving new momentum to his most potent potential rival.
Indeed, some allies were calling on Trump to delay his planned announcement next week, saying the party’s full focus needs to be on Georgia, where Trump-backed football great Herschel Walker’s effort to unseat Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock is headed to a runoff that could determine control of the Senate once again.
“I’ll be advising him that he move his announcement until after the Georgia runoff,” said former Trump adviser Jason Miller, who spent the night with the former president at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. “Georgia needs to be the focus of every Republican in the country right now,” he said. Trump sought to use the midterms as an opportunity to prove his enduring political influence after losing the White House in 2020. He endorsed more than 330 candidates in races up and down the ballot, often elevating inexperienced and deeply flawed candidates.
He revealed in their primary victories. But many of their positions, including echoing Trump’s lies about a stolen 2020 election and embracing hardline views on abortion, were out of step with the political mainstream.