Come election night, however, DeSantis won re-election in a 20-point landslide, nearly 15 points better than Trump’s 2020 margin in their shared home state. At the party, DeSantis supporters chanted “Two more years!” – Encouraging governors to seek presidency before completing their second term.
Trump’s own watch party, by contrast, is stationed in a mandatory evacuation zone as the tropical storm approaches his Mar-a-Lago resort Wednesday morning. Trump spoke briefly Tuesday night to thank reporters for attending, bragging about his winning record and congratulating some of the Republican candidates who won or took the lead. But not DeSantis.
“It will not be funny if we do well in the general elections [primary] nominations,” Trump said, as he processed the results himself. He spent Tuesday night among longtime advisers and donors who, like other Republicans, expected a strong showing on Tuesday.
After leaving the stage, Trump took to his social media site Truth Social to cheer the fall of Republican Senate hopefuls Dan Bolduc in New Hampshire and Joe O’Dea in Colorado, whose wins could have lifted the party toward a majority that remained uncertain on Tuesday. the night
Top 10 Republican presidential candidates for 2024, ranked
The full picture of Tuesday’s results has yet to be finalized, and Trump picked up several wins with several of his favored candidates in marquee Senate races such as Ted Budd in North Carolina and JD Vance in Ohio. (Vance, notably, Many thanks (People, but not Trump, in his victory speech.) Nevertheless, the results have been a mixed bag for Republicans, not the blowout that Trump hoped to get credit for before quickly declaring his 2024 candidacy.
“Candidate quality matters,” said Eric Erickson, a longtime GOP commentator, who described it as a disappointing showing for Trump. “They were not good candidates. He had loyalty above all else. The GOP can still win both [chambers] But this was not the night they expected.
Trump’s allies acknowledged that early returns did not live up to lofty expectations — but remained bullish on the GOP’s chances of winning full control of Congress.
“As President Trump looks to the future, he will continue to champion his America First agenda that won overwhelmingly at the ballot box,” said his spokesman Taylor Budovich. He called Trump’s win-loss record for endorsements “a truly unprecedented feat and only possible because of President Trump’s ability to pick and choose winners.”
DeSantis’ allies trumpeted his resounding reelection Tuesday as a sign that national GOP power is behind him. The governor fell to Democrat Charlie Crist and is poised to win Miami-Dade County, which hasn’t been claimed by a Republican since former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002.
Still, DeSantis wasn’t the only potential Trump challenger who looked emboldened Tuesday night instead of scrambling to clear the field for Trump. Sen. Tim Scott (RS.C.) used his victory speech to hint at his own potential ambitions, saying that his grandfather “had lived long enough to see another man elected president of the United States.”
And Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin appeared on Fox News, looking at his own aspirations. “It sounds like you’re thinking about it,” Fox host Brett Baier said of the White House run. Youngkin replied, “Well, I appreciate that. I’m always humble in this discussion.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who won re-election after surviving a Trump-fueled primary challenge and ran well ahead of Trump’s chosen Senate candidate Herschel Walker on Tuesday, took an unusual swipe at Trump in his victory speech. He hit back at “current and former presidents” for criticizing his initial move to lift pandemic restrictions.
Midterms are inevitably a referendum on the party in power, but Trump has made them all about this year, too. Although not on the ballot itself, he called the list of candidates he endorsed in key states a “Trump ticket.” After losing in 2018 and 2020, the electoral viability of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement is uncertain as to how those candidates will fare within the Republican Party.
His success will embolden hard-liners to press ahead with remaking the party in Trump’s image, but the loss of winnable seats raises concerns that Trump’s hold on the party will hurt its chances with independents and turn away voters who will decide close elections.
“The Trump candidates were a drag on the message of the party and all of our candidates,” said Bill Palatucci, a Republican National Committee member of New Jersey and a Trump critic, adding that Democrats want to send a message against Trump and his supporters. He was not on the ballot. “We had to constantly distance ourselves from the former president’s support.”
According to a Washington Post analysis, Trump had the biggest impact on this cycle’s GOP primaries, winning about 82 percent of his endorsed candidates (not including incumbents). In some cases, Trump jumped on board with candidates already on their way to winning, such as Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano. But for others, like Mehmet Oz, a Senate primary squeaker in the same state, Trump’s support is clearly crucial. But on Tuesday night, Mastriano was expected to lose dramatically, and Oz fell behind in a tight race.
Trump was trying to take credit for the Republican gains, with his team showing up at 30 rallies, 50 in-person fundraisers, 60 tele-rallies and robocalls, and more than $16 million in Super PAC ads for statewide offices in critical states.
“Well, if he wins, I think I should get all the credit,” he told the NewsNation network in an interview posted Tuesday. “If they lose, don’t blame me.”
Trump had decided to seize the spotlight Tuesday night, throwing a huge party in the gilded ballroom at his club, inviting current and former advisers to see him surrounded by flags. He had planned to interview staff later this week and had scheduled his presidential announcement for next week, according to multiple advisers.
Anticipating a Republican wave, Trump wanted to go as far as announcing his candidacy for president before Election Day, according to people familiar with the discussions. But advisers backed away from him, arguing he could be overwhelmed by other news or blamed for mobilizing the Democratic vote.
Advisers managed to push back a formal announcement, with Trump being more specific about his intentions, promising supporters he would be “very happy” “very soon” and finally a “special announcement” at Monday’s rally. Tuesday, November 15.
Part of his urgency, advisers said, comes from a desire to pressure other Republicans to line up behind him and clear the field of potential challengers, especially DeSantis.
Trump has slated DeSantis more than any other potential 2024 challenger, watching his large crowds and disappointed in his positive news coverage — but calling him ungrateful for his support of Trump in his 2018 campaign, allies say. He tested out many nicknames and attacks before landing on “Ron Dissanctimonius” last week; The consultant said the reception was mixed, and he didn’t use it again this weekend.
On Monday night, Trump attacked DeSantis while speaking to reporters on his plane and threatened to release damaging information about him if he ran.
“If he runs, I’ll tell you about him, it’s not very flattering. I know more about him than anyone else than his wife, who is really running his campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal,” Trump told a small group of reporters.
“I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly,” she said.