Donald Trump linked his allegedly mighty clout to two gubernatorial races. The Republican candidate lost in both.
Trump tired to drum up support for both Matt Bevin, in Kentucky, and Eddie Rispone, in Louisiana, by holding rallies the day prior to their elections. And in each case, the Democratic candidate eked out a win over his Republican rival.
Some Republican strategists are concerned Trump’s interjection in the contests hurt the Republican candidate’s chance for victory.
Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor, described the Kentucky race as a “wake-up call” for Republicans that “President Trump’s coattails may not be long enough.”
“Coming after a defeat in the Kentucky governor’s race and sizable losses in Virginia’s legislative races,” writes Melinda Deslatte of the AP, “the Louisiana result seems certain to rattle Republicans as they head into the 2020 presidential election.”
It seems that while Trump might have riled up conservative Republicans, he also powered a surge in anti-Trump turnout in both races.
Those close to Trump argue that he can’t be faulted for the Kentucky and Louisiana results. Bevin was one of the country’s least popular governors, while Rispone was a relatively unknown political newcomer who was facing a popular incumbent. While Trump can help, they contend, he can’t always be expected to pull flawed candidates over the finish line.
It should be noted Trump won Louisiana by 20 points, and Kentucky by nearly 30 points, in 2016.
The bottom line? Trump attempted to turn each contest into a referendum on himself — especially Louisiana, and ended up with a black eye in both.
Republicans have cause for concern … indeed.
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