Comparing Biden and Trump’s recent endorsements in top and down-ballot races

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 12, Brew. 

By: Mercedes Yanora

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Comparing Biden and Trump’s recent endorsements in top and down-ballot races
  2. Three candidates running in March 19 Republican primary for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District 
  3. State legislatures acted on 407 election bills last week

Comparing Biden and Trump’s recent endorsements in top and down-ballot races 

Both President Joe Biden (D) and former President Donald Trump (R) made endorsements in recent primaries. Let’s take a look at how they scored in the March 5 primaries. 

Biden made one primary endorsement, endorsing incumbent U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) for re-election in Texas’ 18th Congressional District. Lee defeated challenger Amanda Edwards 61% to 37%. This is the only 2024 endorsement we have identified from Biden so far.

Trump made endorsements in 48 races. Thirty-nine (81%) of the candidates he endorsed won. Four (8%) advanced to primary runoffs. Three (6%) lost and two are in races that remained uncalled as of March 11.

Thirty-eight of Trump’s endorsements were in Texas, five were in North Carolina, three were in Alabama, and there was one each in Arkansas and California. 

Trump’s only gubernatorial endorsement was for North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson (R). Robinson won the North Carolina gubernatorial Republican primary and faces North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D) in the general election on Nov. 5.

Trump endorsed 26 U.S. House candidates, 24 of whom won their primaries. The other two U.S. House races were uncalled as of March 11. Of the 24 endorsees who advanced to the general election, 21 are incumbents, two ran for an open seat, and one, Mayra Flores (R), will challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D-Texas) in November.

Trump endorsed 18 candidates for the Texas Legislature, which is more than he has made in Texas state legislative races in the last seven years combined. Eleven candidates won their primaries outright, four advanced to a primary runoff, and three lost. 

Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed 11 of the same Republican House candidates: Joanne Shofner, Hillary Hickland, Brent Money, Janis Holt, Helen Kerwin, Mike Olcott, Stormy Bradley, Alan Schoolcraft, Gary Gates, John Smithee, and Steve Toth. All but Bradley either advanced to the general or to a primary runoff. 

Six of these races had challengers running against incumbents who had voted to remove a provision for school vouchers from an education bill. Abbott supported the provision and said he would endorse challengers running against the incumbents. Trump and Abbott endorsed the challengers.

Trump and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) endorsed 15 of the same Republican House candidates: Hillary Hickland, David Covey, Brent Money, Barry Wernick, Janis Holt, Helen Kerwin, Mike Olcott, Don McLaughlin, Liz Case, Alan Schoolcraft, Steve Toth, Gary Gates, Wesley Virdell, John Smithee, and Caroline Fairly. All but Case and Wernick either advanced to the general or to a primary runoff. 

Six of these races had challengers running against incumbents who voted to impeach Paxton in 2023. Trump and Paxton endorsed the challengers. 

Looking at all 18 state legislative candidates, 11 of these Trump endorsements were for candidates challenging an incumbent. Looking just at the challengers, three lost, three advanced to a runoff against the incumbent, and five won outright. The highest-ranking incumbent facing a Trump-endorsed challenger is Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R), who will be running against Trump-endorsed David Covey (R) in the May 28 Republican primary runoff.

Trump has made 72 primary endorsements so far. His primary success rate stands at 81%. In 2022, he made 241 primary endorsements, with a 93% success rate. Trump made 121 primary endorsements in 2020, with a 97% success rate. 

Biden made three primary endorsements in 2022, with a 67% success rate. He did not make any primary endorsements in 2020.

To read more about Trump’s endorsements, click here. To read more about Biden’s endorsements, click here.

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Three candidates running in March 19 Republican primary for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District 

Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling elections — the battlegrounds we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive. 

Earlier this month, we previewed the March 19 Republican primary for Ohio House of Representatives. You can catch our previous coverage of other battleground races here.

Today, we’re looking at the March 19 Republican primary for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. Marcy Kaptur (D) is the current incumbent. 

Steve Lankenau (R), Derek Merrin (R), and Craig Riedel (R) are running in the primary. J.R. Majewski (R) was a candidate but dropped out on March 2, after the Lucas County Republican Party censured him for “remarks made about persons with disabilities and special needs.”

In the 2022 Republican primary, Majewski won with 35.7% and Riedel came in second with 31%. In the general election, Kaptur defeated Majewski 56.6% to 43.4%. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter’s 2023 Partisan Voter Index gave Ohio’s 9th District a +3 Republican advantage. 

GOP leaders have split their endorsements in this primary. Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) endorsed Merrin. 

House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) endorsed Riedel. House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) endorsed Riedel but withdrew her endorsement after the Charlie Kirk Show aired audio of Riedel criticizing former President Donald Trump (R). After the audio aired, Riedel announced his endorsement of Trump in the 2024 presidential election and said, “Matt Gaetz and a social media trickster pulled a stunt yesterday to try and convince President Trump to get involved in my congressional primary for proven loser JR Majewski.” Stefanik has not endorsed anyone else in this primary.

Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance (R) and Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) endorsed Majewski before he dropped out of the race.

Below is a summary of campaign finance as of Dec. 31, 2023:

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State legislatures acted on 407 election bills last week

Every Friday, we publish The Ballot Bulletin — our newsletter about election administration policy and legislation. The newsletter provides in-depth coverage of legislative trends and bill activity using data pulled from Ballotpedia’s Election Administration Legislation Tracker.

The pace of bill enactments this year has been slower than at this same point in 2022 and 2023. Twenty-four bills have been enacted so far in 2024, compared to 35 in 2023 and 38 in 2022. 

Here’s an update on election legislation as we move into the middle of March:

  • State legislatures acted on 407 bills last week, 152 more than the previous week. 
  • Democrats sponsored 144 (35.4%) of the bills, and Republicans sponsored 190 (46.7%) bills. Forty-two (10.3%) bills had bipartisan sponsorship. Thirty-one (7.6%) bills had sponsors other than Democrats or Republicans, such as nonpartisan lawmakers or committee sponsorship. 
  • One hundred sixteen (28.5%) bills are in states with Democratic trifectas, 216 (53.1%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 75 (18.4%) are in states with a divided government. 
  • One hundred thirty-nine bills passed one or both chambers or were enacted last week. Twenty-five were in Democratic trifectas, and of those, Democrats sponsored 15. Seventy-four were in Republican trifectas, and of those, Republicans sponsored 47.
  • The top bill topics last week were:
  1. Election types and contest-specific procedures (67)
  2. Voter registration and list maintenance (36)
  3. Absentee/mail-in voting (34)
  4. Ballot access (28)
  5. Election dates and deadlines (26)

Click below to subscribe to The Ballot Bulletin to stay up to date on the latest election legislation news. 

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