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As Trump tries to shape 2022 fields, here's where he's meddled the most

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a news conference at Lockheed Martin on Aug. 26, 2021, in Marietta, Ga.Brynn Anderson / AP

WASHINGTON — No modern former president has ever played a heavier hand in his party’s primaries after leaving office than Donald Trump has.

And no one — as a result — has more at stake if his side ends up winning or losing.

The latest example of Trump’s heavy hand: Georgia’s new gubernatorial showdown between incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and former Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., where Trump immediately endorsed Perdue after getting into the race on Monday.

Here are — by date — the top 5 Trump-fueled GOP primaries for Senate, governor and House that we’ll be following in 2022:

North Carolina Senate (March 8)

Trump has already endorsed Rep. Ted Budd over former Gov. Pat McCrory in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. And Politico reported over the weekend that Trump brokered a deal to get Rep. Mark Walker to end his Senate bid to clear the field for Budd.

Meanwhile, Club for Growth Action is out with a new TV ad hammering McCrory: “Pat McCrory called Romney ‘a man of incredible courage.’ But on Trump: ‘Donald Trump is destroying democracy.’”

(By the way, when McCrory praised Romney as a “man of incredible courage,” he said that in 2012 when Romney was the GOP’s presidential nominee, and we also remember Trump endorsing Romney as well back then.)

Alabama Senate (May 24)

Trump has endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks, who spoke at that Jan. 6 rally, in the contest to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

Shelby, however, is reportedly dishing out $5 million from his campaign funds to boost Katie Britt, his former chief of staff.

Georgia Governor (May 24)

The aforementioned Kemp-vs.-Perdue primary appears to be hinging on just one issue: Kemp upholding President Biden’s 2020 win in Georgia.

“Unfortunately, today, we are divided, and Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger are to blame,” Perdue said in his video announcement. “Instead of protecting our elections, [Kemp] caved to [Stacey] Abrams and cost us two Senate seats.”

What Perdue didn’t mention: He was one of the two Republicans who lost those Senate seats.

What he also didn’t mention: Who was the legitimate winner in 2020.

The GOP primary for secretary of state also is going to fascinating to watch.

Wyoming at-large (Aug. 16)

This primary has to be the most personal for Trump. It features Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. — who voted for Trump’s impeachment and who is serving on the House’s Jan. 6 committee — and the Trump-backed Harriet Hageman.

After Hageman got into the race and was endorsed by Trump, Cheney tweeted: “Bring it.”

Alaska Senate (Aug. 16)

On the same day Cheney is getting her primary challenge, so does Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial.

Running against her is Kelly Tshibaka, whom Trump has endorsed and whose campaign is staffed, in part, by members of Trump World.

Build Back Better trails Obamacare’s congressional timeline for now

With yet another signal from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., that Senate Democrats likely won’t pass their “Build Back Better” social/climate spending bill before Christmas, here’s something that stands out to us.

Democrats will be trailing the pace of Obamacare’s passage if Build Back Better goes later than Christmas in the Senate.

Over the last decade, there have been so many Democratic complaints about how passing Obamacare took so long. But just look at this comparison:

  • When Obamacare first passed the House: Nov. 7, 2009
  • When Build Back Better first passed the House: Nov. 17, 2021
  • When Obamacare first passed the Senate: Dec. 24, 2009
  • When Build Back Better first passed the Senate: ???

Of course, Obama didn’t sign the Affordable Care Act into law until March 2010 — due to Democrats losing that Massachusetts Senate race, which ended their 60-member Senate supermajority.

So Build Back Better’s final passage is likely to best that timeframe. But not by much.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

More than 400: The number of Capitol Hill staffers who signed onto a letter calling on House leadership to “categorically reject the incendiary rhetoric” by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., about Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. The Washington Post reports that Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., is introducing a resolution to condemn Boebert and strip her of committee assignments.

60 percent: The portion of the increased Covid hospitalizations in America that come from just six states (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois).

49,412,048: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 117,922 more since yesterday morning.)

794,340: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 1,766 since yesterday morning.)

473,243,228: The number of total vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 1,542,785 since yesterday morning.)

47,866,620: The number of booster vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 826,861 since yesterday morning.)

60.1 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

71.6 percent: The share of all Americans 18-years and older who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

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ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

A federal judge in Georgia temporarily blocked the White House’s federal contractor vaccine mandate.

Experts warn that President Biden’s plan for free at-home Covid testing may be marred by complications.

Olaf Scholz is the new chancellor of Germany.

The Senate has confirmed former Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead Customs and Border Protection.

President Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency has withdrawn her nomination after criticism from Republicans and some moderate Democrats.