kari lake
© Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks at an election-night gathering at the Double Tree Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday.
Since leaving office last year, 188 candidates backed by the former president have won primaries, 14 have lost and two dropped out or were disqualified before Election Day.

Donald Trump's image as GOP kingmaker was tarnished by several high-profile election losses earlier this year, but Tuesday's primaries in states like Arizona put the Republican shine back on the former president.

In what's shaping up to be a clean sweep in Arizona, 11 of Trump's 12 endorsed candidates won in primaries for U.S. Senate, secretary of state, Congress, state House and state Senate. (Trump's pick for governor leads in a race that remains too close to call in the battleground state.)


Comment: Note: Kari Lake, the Trump-endorsed candidate, won the election.


All of those candidates have embraced Trump's false claims of a stolen 2020 election.


The Arizona wins were a sharp contrast to Georgia's primaries in May, when most of Trump's major candidates lost in the swing state as they tried to unseat a governor and secretary of state who had refused to aid in Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

While Arizona illustrated the strength of Trump's influence in the GOP, it wasn't the only state primary to showcase his power on Tuesday. His preferred candidates dominated in Missouri and Kansas, as well as Michigan, where one of the 10 members of Congress who voted for his second impeachment was defeated by a Trump-backed challenger.

"Trump is still the 800-pound gorilla," said Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman and GOP consultant. "He has significant influence."

With just a handful of state primaries left, 188 Trump-endorsed candidates have won primaries during his post presidency, 14 have lost, two dropped out or were disqualified before their races, 26 await their primaries and two are in races that have yet to be called, according to his staff and statistics compiled by Ballotpedia.

Trump padded his endorsement stats by backing many incumbents with minimal opposition, but his obsessive involvement in all of the races and the degree to which candidates have prostrated themselves for his support — as well as the difference it has made in some races like Ohio, Arizona and Michigan — makes him an outlier among former presidents.

Trump's record also shows that, while he may be damaged by the multiple investigations focused on him, the former president appears most likely at this time to secure the GOP nominee for president should he run again in 2024.

But Trump's endorsement isn't so magical that it can elevate an unelectable candidate, nor are Republicans clamoring for Trump to run again; polls show him getting about half the hypothetical vote in a crowded Republican presidential primary, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a distant second carrying about half the amount of support as Trump.

Arizona Republican consultant Sean Noble said it's undeniable that "we're in uncharted territory with a former president having this level of control over the party. It's more of his party than anyone else. His endorsement obviously matters more than anyone else's."