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Image: Former President Donald Trump holds a rally on Sept. 23, 2022, in Wilmington, N.C.
Former President Donald Trump holds a rally on Sept. 23, 2022, in Wilmington, N.C.Chris Seward / AP

Trump-backed candidates see mixed success in midterms 

Trump endorsed scores of candidates who were not in competitive races, but those who were saw mixed results.

By , and

Former President Donald Trump is known to tout his win-loss record for candidates he’s endorsed, but the actual results paint a murkier picture when it comes to candidates who faced competitive races.

In the contests the NBC News Decision Desk is projecting, 195 Trump-backed candidates have won their races, 30 have lost, six are in races not yet called and two are headed to runoffs.  (The Decision Desk does not call all statewide races, and does not project winners in legislative or local elections, so those were excluded from the count.)

But two-thirds of those candidates were not in races the NBC News Political Unit considered competitive, based on political dynamics of those races and ad spending.

Of the competitive races overall, 42 Trump-backed candidates won, 29 lost, six are in races not yet called and two are headed to runoffs.

And a candidate was more likely to lose a competitive race if he or she echoed Trump's lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Twenty-eight of the 29 who lost denied or cast doubt on Biden's victory.

In competitive statewide contests that the Decision Desk is projecting, Trump-endorsed candidates saw an even number of wins and losses — 19 in each category. 

Here are the Trump-backed candidates who won competitive governor, Senate and Secretary of State races, many of whom are incumbents:

  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds 
  • Nevada Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
  • Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  • North Carolina Sen.-elect Ted Budd
  • Ohio Sen.-elect J.D. Vance
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  • Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley 
  • Utah Sen. Mike Lee 
  • Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson 
  • Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose

And here are the Trump-backed candidates who lost competitive governor, Senate and Secretary of State races (all but Leora Levy of Connecticut cast doubt on the 2020 presidential election result):

  • Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake
  • Illinois gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey
  • Kansas gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt
  • Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl 
  • Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox
  • Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon
  • Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen
  • New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin
  • Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano
  • Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels
  • Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters
  • Connecticut Senate candidate Leora Levy
  • Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt
  • New Hampshire Senate candidate Don Bolduc 
  • Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz
  • Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem
  • Michigan Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo
  • Minnesota Secretary of State candidate Kim Crockett

The two Trump-backed Senate candidates heading to runoffs include Georgia’s Herschel Walker and Alaska’s Kelly Tshibaka. Georgia will hold a runoff election next month, while Alaska is heading to instant runoffs under the state’s ranked choice voting systems.

And six candidates Trump endorsed are in races that have not yet been called: Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is running for the state’s at-large House seat; Arizona Attorney General candidate Abraham Hamadeh; Kevin Kiley, who is running for California’s open 3rd District; and GOP Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Ken Calvert of California.