The losses raise questions about Trump’s standing as he heads into what will be a grueling 2020 campaign. By throwing himself into the three contests — each in states that Trump won by double-digits in 2016 — the president had hoped to gain a modicum of political momentum at a perilous moment of his presidency.
Those close to the president argue that he can’t be faulted for the Kentucky and Louisiana outcomes. Bevin was one of the country’s least popular governors, while Rispone was a relatively unknown political newcomer who was facing a popular incumbent in Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. While the president can help, they contend, he can’t always be expected to pull flawed candidates over the finish line.
But Trump attempted to turn each contest into a referendum on himself — especially Louisiana. Earlier this week, the president pleaded with rally-goers to dump Edwards…
Trump’s activity in the Louisiana contest was particularly extensive: In addition to the rallies, he called into conservative radio stations on Rispone’s behalf, recorded get-out-the-vote robocalls and videos, and sent out a stream of tweets savaging Edwards. On Saturday, the president wrote several tweets encouraging Louisianans to cast their ballots for Rispone.