Photo by Shealah Craighead

Trump lauds the success of his favored candidates. Ava DeSantis writes what Trump’s influence still means in a GOP primary.

On Sunday, Maine, Alabama, and Texas held Republican Congressional primary elections. Trump’s backed candidates were largely successful, indicating the President has maintained control over his party, despite losing popularity in the nation as a whole.

In a press gaggle, Trump cheered Tommy Tuberville’s victory over Jeff Sessions in the Alabama GOP primary. “I’m happy that Tommy Tuberville won the race,” said Trump. “I think he’s going to be a great senator.”

Jeff Sessions resigned his position as Attorney General in 2018, pressured by the President. Trump criticized Sessions harshly while he held the position, complaining on Twitter in 2017 “why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillary’s crimes & Russia relations?”

The President also criticized current Alabama Senator, Doug Jones, saying “he’s not doing the job. He should be doing a much better job. Certainly he doesn’t represent the views of the people of Alabama – that’s for sure.”

Trump’s highest state approval rating is in Alabama, where 89% of potential GOP primary voters said they support the President. However, voters elected Jones in the last cycle despite Trump’s ardent support for his opponent. In 2017, ahead of the general election for the senate seat, Trump called Jones a “disaster” on Twitter. 

Tommy Tuberville is a former college football coach at Auburn University. According to the President, he “spoke to another coach last night” who said “Tommy Tuberville was a great coach, and he’s a great guy.”

In Texas, Ronny Jackson won his primary against Winegarner. Ronny Jackson is the President’s former chief physician. Trump first endorsed Jackson in February, tweeting “Ronny is strong on Crime and Borders, GREAT for our Military and Vets, and will protect your #2A.” 

Trump congratulated Jackson yesterday, commenting “everybody agrees: They respect Ronny Jackson a lot.” 

A race for the 23rd district in Texas is currently in a runoff election. Trump’s pick, Tony Gonzales, in an informal count beat Raul Reyes by 7 votes. U.S. Senator Tom Cruz backs Raul Reyes in this race.

Trump attributed the closeness of the contest to his choice not to intervene until late in the race. “When I got involved,” Trump explained, “a lot of the votes — early votes were cast, and [Gonzales had] a big comeback.” 

The contest had larger significance due to Trump’s history with Ted Cruz, who ran against him in the GOP Presidential Primary. During the primary, Trump famously called Cruz a liar, and suggested his father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Despite Trump’s ongoing conflict with prominent Republicans and public missteps, it is clear the President continues to hold a lot of power within his party. 

Ava DeSantis

Ava DeSantis is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today. She has a background in political science and history at George Washington University.