Factbox: In key U.S. midterm races, a number of Trump's picks came up short
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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who is facing Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in a run-off election, speaks during a campaign rally in Kennesaw, Georgia, U.S., December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President Donald Trump had a mixed endorsement record in the U.S. midterms, pushing the Republican Party further to the right in nomination contests, but picking candidates who lost key elections, contributing to his party's failure to take control of the Senate.
Trump, who launched a new run for the White House last month, endorsed more than 200 candidates during the election cycle, though most were Republicans competing in races that were easy wins for the party.
In 12 highly competitive endorsements, however, including several that started with primary challenges to incumbent Republicans, four won election but five lost, including Herschel Walker, who on Tuesday came up short in Georgia's run-off contest for a U.S. Senate seat. Three others lost their primaries.
Here's a look at Trump's record:
* Lost to Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock in a Georgia runoff
A retired football star who has never held elected office, Walker forced a run-off against Warnock after neither won a majority of the vote in their Nov. 8 matchup. But on Tuesday, Walker underperformed in Georgia's big, suburban counties. A vocal anti-abortion advocate, Walker was dogged by reports that he paid for multiple former girlfriends to have abortions. He denied all allegations against him.
* Lost race for U.S. Senate seat for Pennsylvania vacated by a retiring Republican senator
Trump's endorsement of the celebrity doctor divided Republican leaders in Pennsylvania. Oz was defeated by Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in a close race, after facing accusations of carpetbagging as a longtime New Jersey resident. Oz only narrowly beat former hedge fund executive David McCormick in the Republican Party's nomination contest.
* Suffered surprise defeat in Republican-leaning district
While Washington's 3rd congressional district was viewed ahead of the election as leaning Republican, Kent narrowly lost to Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez after coming under criticism for his connections to the far right. Kent, a former special forces officer, campaigned with U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and told Oregon Public Broadcasting that he held a social media strategy call with white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, though he said he disagreed with Fuentes' "ethno-nationalism."
Kent had narrowly won the Aug. 2 Republican primary over incumbent U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump last year.
* Lost bid for Michigan's 3rd congressional district
Gibbs lost by a clear margin to Democrat Hillary Scholten in what had been expected to be a close contest. A former housing official under Trump with a history of inflammatory tweets, including references to baseless conspiracy theories about Democrats and Satanism, Gibbs had defeated U.S. Representative Peter Meijer in the primary after a Democratic Party group spent heavily on television ads touting Trump's endorsement. Meijer, one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year, slammed the ads as a ploy to help his "far-right opponent" get on the ballot and make it easier for Democrats to win the moderate district in November.
* Lost bid to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Trump backed Tshibaka, a former Alaska state administration commissioner, to unseat Murkowski, one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in 2021 on impeachment charges. Both Murkowski and Tshibaka advanced from an August primary contest along with Democrat Pat Chesbro, but Murkowski triumphed in the general election, which featured a new ranked-choice voting system that takes into account voters' second-choice picks. Neither Murkowski nor Tshibaka won more than 50% of the vote, but Murkowski ended up with 54% of the vote after Chesbro was eliminated, with most of her votes reallocated to Murkowski.
* Won U.S. Senate seat for Ohio vacated by a retiring Republican senator
Vance is widely known as the author of best-seller "Hillbilly Elegy," which documented the descent of factory towns in states like Ohio into poverty and drug abuse. For the Senate contest, he shed his reputation as a Trump critic and styled himself as an angry populist in the Trump mold, winning the former leader's endorsement. In the midterm contest, he defeated Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Ryan.
* Won U.S. Senate seat for North Carolina vacated by a retiring Republican senator
Budd narrowly defeated Democrat Cheri Beasley in the Senate contest. A rank-and-file member of the House of Representatives, Budd had little statewide name recognition before he sought the Republican nomination. Following Trump's endorsement, he surged in opinion polls and easily defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in the May 17 primary.
* Won Wyoming's at-large congressional district
Trump threw his backing behind Hageman, a lawyer, in September 2021, looking to punish incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, who was stripped of her role as the No. 3 House Republican for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Cheney, the daughter of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, also served as the vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack. Hageman easily won the Nov. 8 contest to represent Wyoming, which is overwhelmingly Republican.
* Won South Carolina's 7th congressional district, which is strongly Republican
Fry, a state representative, won Trump's endorsement after U.S. Representative Tom Rice joined Democrats and a handful of Republicans in voting to impeach the former president for inciting the deadly attack on the Capitol. Fry defeated Rice in the June 14 Republican primary, telling supporters afterward he would work hard to make Trump proud. On Nov. 8, he easily beat Democratic opponent Daryl Scott.
LOSERS IN PRIMARIES
* Lost to incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Dan Newhouse
Former small-town police chief Loren Culp won Trump's endorsement to take on Newhouse, who had stoked Trump's ire by voting to impeach him last year. But Newhouse advanced in the August Republican primary, with Culp blaming his loss on a crowded field of Republican candidates who were similarly pro-Trump. Newhouse easily won re-election.
* Went up against Georgia's incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp
Despite Trump's endorsement, former U.S. Senator David Perdue did not come close to upsetting Georgia's incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp in the party's nomination contest. Kemp, who had angered Trump by dismissing the former president's false statements about election fraud in the 2020 presidential contest, won his re-election bid against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
* Challenged Republican U.S. Representative Nancy Mace
Arrington, a former South Carolina state lawmaker, won Trump's endorsement after incumbent Mace publicly criticized Trump for his role in his supporters' assault on the Capitol. Mace, who voted against Trump's impeachment, defeated Arrington in the Republican nomination contest and then easily defeated Democratic challenger Annie Andrews.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Rosalba O'Brien)
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