But on election night, it was DeSantis who threw the victory party, re-elected in a 20-point landslide, nearly 15 points better than Trump’s 2020 showing. differences in their common home state. At the party, DeSantis supporters chanted “Two more years!” — to urge the governor to seek the presidency before the end of his second term.
In contrast, Trump’s own wake party was cut short by a tropical storm heading toward his Mar-a-Lago resort, which was placed under a mandatory evacuation zone Wednesday morning. Trump spoke briefly Tuesday night to thank reporters for attending, boast about his winning approval ratings and congratulate several Republican candidates who won or led. But not DeSantis.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if we were better in the general election than in the polls?” [primary] nominations,” Trump mused, still processing the results himself. He spent Tuesday night among longtime advisers and donors who, like other Republicans, had hoped for a better showing on Tuesday.
After leaving the stage, Trump took to his social media site Truth Social to celebrate Republican Senate candidates Don Bolduc in New Hampshire and Joe O’Dea in Colorado, whose victories could lift the party to a majority that remained uncertain on Tuesday. night
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The full picture of Tuesday’s results has yet to be finalized, with Trump scoring several victories against several of his favorite candidates in Senate races, such as Ted Budd in North Carolina and JD Vance in Ohio. (Vance, esp thanked tens people in his victory speech, but not Trump.) Still, the results were mixed for Republicans, not the kind of blow Trump was hoping to claim before quickly announcing his 2024 candidacy.
“The quality of the candidates matters,” longtime GOP commentator Erick Erickson said of what he described as Trump’s disappointing performance. “They were not good candidates. They were more loyal to him than anyone else. The GOP can still win both [chambers] but this is not the night they expected.
Trump’s allies acknowledged that early results fell short of wild expectations, but remained bullish on the GOP’s chances of taking full control of Congress.
“As President Trump looks to the future, he will continue to pursue his overwhelmingly overwhelming America First agenda,” said his spokesman, Taylor Budowich. He called Trump’s endorsement win-loss record “truly an unprecedented achievement and something only possible because of President Trump’s ability to pick and choose winners.”
DeSantis’ allies trumpeted his resounding re-election Tuesday as a sign that national GOP energy is behind him. The governor squared off with Democrat Charlie Crist and looked set to win a Miami-Dade district that hasn’t been contested by a Republican since 2002, when former Gov. Jeb Bush was in charge.
Still, DeSantis wasn’t the only potential challenger to Trump who seemed emboldened, rather than apprehensive, to clear the field for Trump on Tuesday night. Sen. Tim Scott (RS.C.) used his victory speech to hint at his potential aspirations, saying he wished his grandfather had “lived long enough to see another person of color elected president of the United States.”
And Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin appeared on Fox News to wink at his own aspirations. “It looks like you’ve been thinking about it,” Fox host Brett Baier said of the White House run. Youngkin replied, “Well, I appreciate that. I am always humbled by this discussion.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who won re-election after surviving a primary challenge boosted by Trump to outscore Trump’s Senate nominee Herschel Walker on Tuesday, took an unusual swipe at Trump in his victory speech. He hit back at criticism from “presidents, both current and former,” of his early move to lift pandemic restrictions.
Midterms are inevitably a referendum on the party in power, but Trump has announced one this year as well. Although not on the ballot itself, he was on the “Trump ticket,” as he called it, on the list of endorsed candidates in key states. How these candidates fare in the vote count is sure to fuel disagreements within the Republican Party over the electoral viability of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement after defeats in 2018 and 2020.
Their success would encourage hard-liners to push ahead with shaping the party in Trump’s image, and the loss of seats won would heighten concerns that Trump’s grip on the party is hurting its appeal to independents and swing voters who decide on close elections.
“Trump’s candidates have been a hindrance to the party and all of our candidates,” said Bill Palatucci, a New Jersey Republican National Committeeman and Trump critic, who said Democrats wanted to send a message against Trump and his supporters. he was not on the ballot. “We constantly had to distance ourselves from their support for the former president.”
Trump has arguably had the biggest impact on this cycle’s GOP primaries, with about 82 percent of his endorsements (not including incumbents) winning, according to a Washington Post analysis. In some cases, Mr. Trump has chosen to join candidates who are already in the running for victory, such as Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. But for others, like Mehmet Oz, the Senate primary challenger in the same state, Trump’s support was clearly decisive. But on Tuesday night, Mastriano was predicted to lose badly, with Oz trailing in a tight race.
Trump sought to claim the Republican gains, and his team pointed to his 30 rallies, 50 in-person fundraisers, 60 teleconferences and phone calls, and more than $16 million.
“Well, I think if they win, I should get all the credit,” he said in an interview with NewsNation on Tuesday. “If they lose, I shouldn’t be to blame.”
Trump was determined to be in the spotlight Tuesday night, throwing a big party in his club’s gilded ballroom, inviting current and former advisers to see him speak with flags. He planned to interview staff later this week and, according to multiple advisers, planned to make a presidential announcement next week.
Anticipating a Republican wave, Trump wanted to go so far as to announce his presidential candidacy before Election Day, according to people familiar with the discussions. But advisers talked him out of it, saying he could drown out other news or be accused of mobilizing Democratic activity.
Although advisers managed to push back an official announcement, Trump has been increasingly vocal about his intentions, telling supporters they will be “very happy” “very soon” and finally promising a “very special announcement” to the next at Monday’s rally. November 15, Tuesday.
Part of his urgency, aides said, was his desire to pressure other Republicans to rally behind him and clear the field of potential challengers, especially DeSantis.
Trump more than other potential 2024 DeSantis has been targeted by rivals, eyeing his big crowds and increasingly frustrated by his positive news, calling him ungrateful for Trump’s support in his 2018 campaign. campaign, allies say. He tried a number of aliases and attacks before landing on “Ron DeSanctimonyous” last week; advisers said the reception was mixed, and he did not use it again this weekend.
On Monday night, Trump attacked DeSantis while speaking to reporters on his plane, even threatening to release damaging information about him if he fled.
“If he ran, I’ll say things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anyone except maybe his wife, who actually runs his campaign,” Trump told a small group of reporters in the Wall Street Journal.
“I think if he runs, he could get seriously injured,” he said.