Here’s who Trump has endorsed in next week’s primaries
Former President Trump touted a win this week after all 22 of his endorsed candidates won their respective Republican primaries in Indiana and Ohio in what was considered a test of his power as a GOP kingmaker.
The next batch of Republican primaries is set to kick off on Tuesday in Nebraska and West Virginia, where four of Trump’s candidates will face a similar test, including in the midterm cycle’s first member-on-member primary election.
Two of the primaries next week that will certainly be closely watched include Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster (R), who is facing sexual misconduct accusations from eight women, and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), who is battling fellow Republican colleague Rep. David McKinley in a redistricted seat.
Here are the Trump-endorsed candidates to watch for in next week’s set of primaries:
Charles Herbster, gubernatorial candidate
Trump held two rallies for Herbster this week, including one telerally, as the Republican candidate faces multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.
The former chairman of Trump’s Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee, Herbster has touted his previous ties to the former president in his campaign, and has beat out eight other candidates for Trump’s endorsement.
However, last month a bipartisan group of Nebraska state senators, one of whom is one of Herbster’s alleged victims, called on Herbster to drop his gubernatorial bid in light of the allegations against him.
Earlier this year, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) said he would be backing University of Nebraska regent Jim Pillen (R). In light of last month’s revelations about Herbster — who has denied the allegations — Ricketts said it was “beyond horrible.”
“Charles W. Herbster should beg forgiveness of the women he has preyed upon and seek treatment. Sexual assault is criminal behavior and should disqualify anyone from elected leadership,” he said in a statement. “I encourage my fellow Nebraskans to respect, support, and stand with these survivors, who had the courage to tell the truth about what happened to them. These brave women have Susanne’s and my full support.”
Rep. Adrian Smith, 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) is running to keep his seat in the state’s 3rd Congressional District, and is being challenged by Marine Corps and National Guard veteran Mike Calhoun.
Calhoun, a newcomer, is likely to face a difficult primary given that Smith has served in Congress for 15 years, according to Norfolk Daily News.
Smith was one of the congressmen who objected to the Electoral College’s certification of President Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election, as Trump and his allies offered baseless claims of widespread fraud, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Rep. Carol Miller, 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Carol Miller (R), who currently represents West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, is now running for the state’s 1st Congressional District due to new maps following the 2020 census.
Several candidates are challenging the West Virginia lawmaker for the seat, including former retired Army Lt. Col. Scott Fuller, optometrist Zane Lawhorn and government contractor and Army veteran James Houser.
Rep. Alex Mooney, 2nd Congressional District
In the first Republican primary between two incumbents, Mooney is going head to head with Republican colleague McKinley.
The two are vying for the state’s 2nd Congressional District due to the new maps, and Trump placed his weight behind Mooney last November. The former president said he was supporting Mooney because he opposed the bipartisan infrastructure law and voted against the creation of the Jan. 6 committee.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) waded into the House race late last month, appearing in a campaign ad for McKinley and touting the fact that both of them opposed Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
“I’ve always said if I can’t go home and explain it, I can’t vote for it. And that’s why I opposed Build Back Better. For Alex Mooney and his out-of-state supporters to suggest David McKinley supported Build Back Better is an outright lie,” Manchin says in the 30-second ad.
“David McKinley has always opposed reckless spending because it doesn’t make sense for West Virginia. Alex Mooney has proven he’s all about Alex Mooney. But West Virginians know David McKinley is all about us,” he added.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) has also backed McKinley and claimed that the former president “made a mistake” by endorsing Mooney, according to WV News.