But rarely can such a stamp of approval help a lagging candidate reverse course or harness new energy. And in this election cycle in particular, when an anti-establishment fever has drawn GOP voters to Donald Trump, the backing of an elected official might mean less than in previous years — or even act to a candidate’s detriment.
That dynamic hasn’t stopped White House aspirants from embracing the tradition. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has tapped Govs. Paul LePage of Maine (pictured) and Larry Hogan of Maryland to campaign with him in New Hampshire. Sen. John McCain joined Lindsey Graham on the campaign trail and cut an ad on his behalf, before Graham dropped out of the race last week.
Endorsements such as those garner the most media attention, but only a few tend to make any difference in terms of voter turnout, fundraising and support — the metrics that matter to a campaign.
“The endorsement itself means nothing,” said Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist who worked in the Granite State for Mitt Romney. “It’s how hard the endorser will work for you and how plugged in they are.”