Several Republicans whose campaigns were backed or endorsed by former President Donald Trump defeated GOP rivals who voted to impeach him by spending far less money, a new analysis reveals.
According to ABC News, for instance, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming spent $8 million to try to hold onto her seat against Trump-backed Harriet Hageman, who spent less than half the amount ($3.5 million), but the incumbent lost by nearly 40 points.
The outlet adds:
Hageman’s victory on Tuesday cemented a new political reality in the 2022 Republican primaries: Incumbency and large war chests, long considered to be among the biggest keys to electoral victory, are no longer a safeguard when it comes to candidates facing opponents backed by former President Donald Trump.
“With Donald Trump, the ice cube has not melted,” longtime Republican donor Dan Eberhart told the network. “It sends a message that Trump is ascending and people that cross Trump will likely be pushed out of the party.”
Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump a second time following the Jan. 6 riot, four chose not to run for reelection. Of the six who have, four of them were beaten by lesser-funded Trump-backed challengers.
“Only two of them — Rep. David Valadao of California, who did not compete against a Trump endorsee, and Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington — advanced to the general election in November,” ABC News noted.
In all, Cheney’s war chest swelled to $15 million, while Hageman raised a modest $4.4 million, some of which came from Trump’s Save America PAC.
“Look at the money that Liz raised — it didn’t matter,” Francis Rooney, a former U.S. representative in Florida and a longtime Republican supporter who had fundraised for Cheney’s campaign last year, told ABC News. Rooney vowed not to donate to the Republican National Committee as long as it remained aligned with the former president.
ABC News adds:
The story was similar in Michigan, where impeachment supporter Rep. Peter Meijer brought in nearly $2.8 million through mid-July and received several millions in outside support from super PACs, FEC disclosures show. But he was defeated by Trump-endorsed challenger John Gibbs, who raised less than half a million dollars and spent less than half a million on the race.
Impeachment supporter Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington lost to Trump-backed challenger Joe Kent, and Rep Tom Rice of South Carolina was defeated by Trump-backed candidate Russell Fry — despite both incumbents outspending their opponents and receiving additional support from outside groups funded by major GOP donors.
Other races have shown mixed results.
In the Senate, where seven GOP members voted to convict Trump, just one is up for reelection this year: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. She bested Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka but she will face her again in November along with two other candidates under the state’s ranked-choice voting scheme.
In Georgia, incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp easily beat Trump-supported challenger and former U.S. Sen. David Perdue. But Trump’s Senate pick, former NFL star Hershel Walker, easily won his primary. And in Arizona, former newscaster Kari Lake, who secured Trump’s backing, beat out her GOP challengers earlier this month.
Last month, following reports that his influence over the GOP primaries may be waning, Trump advertised what he called his “never before seen endorsement power,” saying, “They say, whoever I endorse will win!”
“The true story is that my Endorsements have been, by any standard, amazing — stronger than ever seen before in our Country’s history,” he said in a statement.