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Primaries expose Trump’s limited influence

Primaries expose Trump’s limited influence

If you are not up to speed on the results of some rather important Republican primaries, you are not alone.  The producers at CNN and MSNBC were so engrossed in hyping the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson before the Select Committee (which will be the subject of an upcoming commentary) that they provided no time for election day news in several key states.

If we look at the elections around the country in terms of President Trump’s influence, I would say it was a wash to a slight disappointment for the former President.  In the very important Senate race in Colorado, the establishment candidate, Joe O’Dea, defeated the Trump candidate, Ron Hanks, by a convincing 54.5 to 45.5 percent margin.  Hanks had been one of the attendees of the January 6, 2021, gathering on Capitol Hill.  This was almost as bad for Trump as losing the Georgia Republican primary to incumbent Governor Brian Kemp.

Democrats had not only been hoping to have Hanks as the opponent to incumbent Democrat Senator Michael Bennett, they also had a lot invested in the race … literally.  With Bennett having no competition in their primary, Democrats poured millions of dollars (yes, millions) into Hank’s campaign and independent advertising in his support.  Bennett should lose his seat on that issue alone.

Democrats also poured money into the U.S. Senate race to defeat Republican candidate Heidi Ganahl in favor of Greg Lopez – perceived to be the more Trumpian candidate.  That money went down the drain when Ganahl defeated Lopez by a 54 to 46 margin.

In the Secretary of State race in Colorado, conservative Republican Pam Anderson bested two challengers, including Trump election activist Tina Peters – who is under indictment for tampering with election machines.

In Mississippi, incumbent Republican Congressman Michael Guest had been forced into a run-off election in which he faced at least one Trump candidate.  In the final round, Guest won the GOP nomination by an impressive 67 to 33 percent margin over Michael Cassidy, who was more aligned to the Trump faction of the GOP.

One of the litmus tests for Trump was how members of Congress voted on the creation of a commission to investigate the Capitol Hill riot.  Obviously, the voters were not concerned.  Three other members who voted in favor of establishing a commission won their primary races.  They were Representatives Blake Moore (Utah), John Curtis (Utah) and Stephanie Bice (Oklahoma).

Democrats were not only pouring money into Colorado GOP primaries.  It was part of a national strategy in which Democrat groups poured tens of millions of dollars to produce Republican candidates they believed to be more easily beatable.  The Democrat effort was claimed to be more successful in Illinois – where the Democrat Governors’ Association and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker poured tens of millions of dollars to defeat establishment candidate Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin in favor of conservative candidate Darren Bailey.

The Democrats spent their money painting Darren Bailey (somewhat falsely) as a card-carrying MAGA Trump candidate – but he was eventually endorsed by Trump.  But that was only after Bailey was polling well ahead of Richard Irvin.  Baily easily won the race with an impressive 58 percent of the vote over three opponents – with Irvin taking third place with 15 percent of the vote.

The Illinois primary had a personal angle for me.  My ex-brother-in-law David Shestokas was running in the three-way Attorney General.  He ran as a supporter of Trump – and had been part of the legal team challenging election results in specific states. The establishment candidate was Steve Kim.  The third candidate was Thomas DeVore – who came to fame by defeating Governor Pritzker’s mask mandate order.

I found this a particularly informative race in terms of Trump’s popularity when a clearly Trump candidate (Shestokas) is facing an establishment candidate (Kim) and a non-Trump conservative (DeVore).  DeVore got 44 percent of the vote, with Kim at 35 and Shestokas at 21 percent.

Some Trump candidates were successful, but his clear victories came with Republican incumbents in very safe districts.  The primary example is Colorado’s incumbent Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who won a landslide 65 percent over challenger Don Coram.  She would have won with or without Trump’s endorsement.

The two major left-wing chronicles saw the outcome of Tuesday’s GOP primaries very differently.  The New York Times’ headline read: “Trump’s Primary Losses Puncture His Invincibility.”  The Washington Post headline read: “More than 100 GOP primary winners back Trump’s false fraud claims.”

I think they are both wrong.  I do not think Trump ever had the invincible control over the GOP as the left and Trump like to claim.  And 100 winners out of tens of thousands of candidates – and those very high-end losses – give Trump a mixed review at best.

The American people are not fools or cultists.  They are intelligent and thoughtful people who weigh each candidate individually – and with consideration of a lot of local and national issues.  That is the take-away from this latest round of GOP primaries.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Perry

    Nobody much pays attention to endorsements. It’s all a publicity stunt Ron DeSantos will be our next president.

    • larry Horist

      Perry … With more than 50 year of political involvement, I would echo the first comment. Endorsements are overblown — especially media endorsement. That has been shown in many studies. And at this point, DeSantis is my pick.

  2. frank stetson

    There is little doubt that Trump still wields considerable power in US politics across both sides of the aisle. More critical IMO is Trumpism which is breeding quite a few politicians that used to be considered too extreme for the mainstream. These whacko’s are not fringe candidates in remote rural areas, they are mainstream. A total of 26 States had Republican QAnon candidates. There are Republicans in these primaries who appreciated endorsements from MTG, a guy who dropped because of abuse charges, another will sex abuse charges, TV’s Oz – a doctor who does not agree with covid science. There’s a guy with a gun touting ad for hunting Rino’s. There’s a number of Big Lie advocates, a guy who says DC Republicans do coke and have orgies, a number who were at the Capitol insurrection. There’s one with a House Ethics investigation over jobs-for-votes. Forty percent of all Republican impeachment voters in Congress won’t be back, another Republican loss to Trumpism. And yeah, legally Democrats, not the party though, have supported some of the whack jobs, perhaps a riskier move than letting Republicans choose for themselves.

    The fact that all Trump endorsements didn’t win is due to many factors; but he also backed a few winners, knocked a few Real Republicans off their perches as well. He is himself still an active contender for 2024 and he is still, currently, the leader of the Republican party. It is only over when he drops out, and even then……who knows.

    Most important is he has over $250,000,000 in Republican donor dollars that will go to whatever candidates, mostly himself that he favors as of Jan, 2021. That’s $250M that other Republicans will not get in donations. That’s some power, the power of the purse, right there. And that was Jan of 2021, he took another $50M in 2H2021. Wonder how much he has taken since then will all those Revenge rallies. Sure, he will use most for his defense, but he will keep collecting till the day he formerly drops out or is precluded by law/rules from running. $300M is not limited influence. So if you follow the money, Trump is still a considerable force in Republican politics and any pol that doesn’t; heed that will probably pay, in some way, for his ignorance of the truth.

    Let’s face it, how many times has this guy hit the mat only to stand up again? No, I would say this is a pause at best, at worst —- he did get quite a few of his quid pro quo candidates into the race and both Democrats and Republicans should continue to take notice of that, and be concerned.

    • Miles collins

      You should mention the loony people that are extremely leftist. Like the people saying “burn the goddamned country down “ And many of your democrat politicians calling for violence and refusing to condemn the antics of militants in blm and antifa. And they said very little about threats to the scotus justices. And that’s just a few examples. And so what if trump gets re-elected? He would be a lot better than the idiots making up the democrat party.

      • frank stetson

        Now, why would I do that in a story about Trump influence except to say: “see, Trump even pushes the leftist extremists to the forefront.” And violence is wrong, it does not matter which party, IMO. Do you want to be detail Right-wing violent extremism in the same time as blm and antifa? Do you want me to detail those Right-wing extremists arrested for violence, attempting once again to start a race war, DURING Blm protests trying to hide under said Blm protest? “AP finds most arrested in protests aren’t leftist radicals” That was MOST.

        But if Trump gets re-elected, you will get four years of revenge against his grievances, both sides of the aisle. Perhaps that’s fun for you to torture your fellow citizens for holding a belief different than yours, but I do not see any profit for the country in revenge.

        So if pointing out Leftist issues makes you feel more supportive for Trump; I really doubt you needed to go that distance, you were already a Trumplicant, not a Real Republican.

  3. Tony Bell

    Not surprising when the opposition literally fabricate and pay millions to publish fabricated smears. Democrats rarely run on issues or solutions since they cannot compete where it actually counts. We all see what results when democrats take control, disaster. Do the work and vote wisely.

    • Ben

      Which “fabricated smears?” You dicks always accuse, very rarely prove.

      I don’t know, Dems – disaster? Can you say TRUMP:COVID? TRUMP:ECONOMIC COLLAPSE? Sure, it’s rough 18 months post the Trump spending spree creating the largest debt and deficit ever in human history, much less the US, while lining our pockets with free money, more so for business and the rich, which now, under Biden, has come back to bite us in the ass. And yes, Biden and covid have not made it better —– but Trump sowed the seeds. You just keep believing his lies, probably The Big Lie too, from that burger tossing, steering wheel grabbing, pussy who couldn’t find the Capitol from the Ellipse and went home to chortle at the TV while they ransacked our Nation’s center of Government. Fucking Nero of America is who he is, and you love it when Nero fiddles.

      • Perry

        Stfu boy

        • Ben

          Well, that proves it. For sure.

          When you are incapable of making a point, go for the personal attack.

          I will not stfu. I am not a boy. You can’t hold a discussion. Weak.

          • larry Horist

            Bad Ben … I got a chuckle out your comment. When have you ever been able to hold a serious and civil dialogue? Since you have been commenting, you have produced little more than ad hominin attacks, insults, sophomoric attempts at humor and parody and a pile of bumper sticker platitudes. Often your comments have nothing to do my commentary — just a platform for you to spew you political venom. I personally do not want you to stfu since you so eloquently expose the vapidity of the left. Keep it going …

          • Ben

            Just because you are incapable of an intelligent response with facts, sources, or links, you condone anyone slamming me via ad hominin’s because that’s who you are.

            Long Covid, still Lame Larry:

            Yes, I indulge in ad hominins against assholes who throw the first verbal punch, you are correct shit face.

            Yes, I insult jerk offs who hurl insults first, you tired old man with long covid brain.

            Sophomoric humor, parodies? Not sure what you are talking about? Oldtimers kicking in?

            Bumper sticker platitudes — sorry dude, you are the king of that, especially when you wax poetic about Republicans moving beyond Trump and embracing minorities. Brings tears to the eyes, your false praise.

            The only reason there is no civil dialogue with you is that you can’t get it up to have one.

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