Former President Donald Trump again proved his endorsements are game-changers in the Republican primaries, scoring big wins in Connecticut and Wisconsin.
Also in Tuesday’s primary, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of “The Squad,” nearly lost her seat to a pro-police Democrat in Minnesota’s 5th District.
In Connecticut, Leora Levy, who was supported by Mr. Trump beat polls and predictions a week ago by defeating his moderate Republican opponent, Themis Klarides, in the Republican Senate primary.
With 99% of the votes counted on Wednesday, Ms. Levy received 51%. Ms. Klarides, a former state House minority leader who had the support of the state party, received 40 percent, and immigration lawyer Peter Lumaj had 9 percent.
Mr. Trump held a tele-rally for tens of thousands of Connecticut voters on the eve of the election and made a robocall for Ms. Levy on election day.
“We are making history here,” said Ms. Levy in his victory speech. “Thank you, President Trump, for your strong, clear and unequivocal support. I will not let you down.”
Ms. Levy is a member of the Republican National Committee that Mr. Trump nominated her as US ambassador to Chile, although she was never confirmed.
In November, he will face two-term Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who has an $8 million campaign coffer and has never lost an election in his 37-year career. Mr. Blumenthal is a vitriolic enemy of Mr. trump
“Here in Connecticut, Dick Blumenthal is Joe Biden,” said Ms. Levy to supporters. “Dick Blumenthal Supported Defunding Police”.
Mr Trump has said Ms Levy will “defeat the corrupt Richard Blumenthal in November, and what a victory that will be”.
Lumaj called the primary results “a big win for President Trump in our state.”
“The target remains Blumenthal and failed liberal policies,” he said. “Obviously, the endorsement by the party [Mr. Trump] changed the political landscape of our state.”
Larraine Rubacha, a prominent supporter of Klarides, told the Hartford Courant that he was surprised by Ms. Levy’s victory.
“I’m heartbroken,” she said. “I never saw that coming, it’s shocking… The Trump factor must have played a big part, but who saw that coming in Connecticut? Not me, not anyone I know.”
In Wisconsin, Trump-endorsed construction company owner Tim Michels beat establishment GOP candidate Rebecca Kleefisch in the GOP gubernatorial primary.
With 98% of the votes counted on Wednesday, Mr. Michels had 47.1%. Ms. Kleefisch, a former lieutenant governor who was endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence, had 42 percent.
The construction company of Mr. Michels was awarded a contract for the Keystone XL pipeline during the Trump administration, but work stalled when President Biden canceled the project in early 2021.
Mr. Trump failed in his bid to unseat Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who narrowly defeated Trump-endorsed challenger Adam Steen. Mr. Trump had repeatedly criticized Mr. Vos, the state’s longest-serving speaker, for failing to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election.
In Minnesota, Mr. Trump scored another victory with his endorsement of Republican Secretary of State nominee Kim Crockett, who has said the 2020 election was rigged.
And Ms. Omar, who was first elected in 2018 and has become nationally recognized as one of several progressive lawmakers, narrowly won her primary against moderate Democrat Don Samuels 50.4% to 48 .2%
Supporters of Mr. The Samuels said they were unhappy with Ms. Omar’s vote against President Biden’s infrastructure bill and his failed proposal to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new “Department of Public Safety.”
The district is heavily Democratic, and it is not known whether Ms. Omar’s narrow early-game escape indicates a general vulnerability, or a racially defined weakness in crime when she ran against Republican Cicely Davis in the november