Last night, primary election results in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and elsewhere demonstrated an inconvenient truth for the Illinois Republican Party: Donald Trump is still in charge. This week’s results continued a pattern seen in earlier races in West Virginia and Ohio, where Trump’s backing proved too strong for GOP establishment candidates:
- In Pennsylvania, Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a strong believer of the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, easily won his primary. Trump-supported Senate candidate Dr. Oz currently leads the vote count as the final ballots are tallied.
- In North Carolina, U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd used Trump’s endorsement to defeat a former governor and sitting U.S. House member while Trump-endorsed Bo Hines won his U.S. House primary.
- In Ohio, J.D. Vance leveraged Trump’s support into a U.S. Senate primary win in a crowded field as Trump-endorsed candidates won in several Ohio House primaries.
- In West Virginia, Trump-endorsed Rep. Alex Mooney defeated his establishment opponent in an incumbent-on-incumbent primary.
Even in races where Trump’s candidate fell short or Trump was not involved, his ultra-MAGA agenda still dominated the GOP primary. Or, as one Ohio political watcher said, “[A]lmost the entire field ran Trumpier-than-thou campaigns, and those candidates collectively took home nearly eight out of 10 votes in the race.”
Here in Illinois, Trump and his MAGA agenda is playing a major role in nearly every Republican primary, from the Mary Miller/Rodney Davis slug-fest to the increasingly embarrassing “food-fight” in the GOP gubernatorial primary. A recent WGN poll showed that more than 57 percent of Illinois Republican primary voters would be more likely to support a Trump-endorsed candidate.
While Illinois Republican leaders may try to claim the ILGOP is “not the party of Trump,” the electoral results simply do not lie. Donald Trump is head of the Republican Party — both nationally and here in Illinois.