A former NFL star Trump is promoting for a potential Senate run in Georgia — Herschel Walker — is beloved in the state where he started his career as a Heisman Trophy winner. But he is an untested political novice, and it’s been decades since he lived in Georgia.
In North Carolina, Trump is backing Rep. Ted Budd to replace the state’s retiring Republican senator. Budd, a gun store owner, is an ardent defender of the former president but has trailed in early polling and fundraising.
In Arizona, many Republicans believe Gov. Doug Ducey would be the best candidate against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. But Ducey, who has been pummeled by Trump for not doing more to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, has said he won’t run.
Trump derided him on Ducey’s own turf Saturday, recalling in a Phoenix speech his reaction to Ducey’s possible candidacy. Trump said he was asked, “Sir, would you like him to run for the Senate?” and replied, “He’s not getting my endorsement, I can tell you.”
Trump allies argue that the party would face far graver political problems if he were not so engaged. Many see him as essential to motivating GOP voters in 2022’s high-stakes election, especially since turnout usually drops in midterms.
“This is largely going to be a turnout-based election. If the candidate is Trumpy, that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said a person familiar with the former president’s thinking. “The wishy-washy vanilla candidate is going to be problematic in a race that is really all about energy and turnout and excitement.”
Originally Appeared Here