Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently noted to the news website, “He brought a bunch of new voters into the party that we want to keep,” adding, “He’s the most influential Republican in America. He’s not going to ride off into the sunset, write his memoirs and open a library.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has attempted to limit Trump controversy among Senate races.
“Endorse as many incumbents that you can. Come out for the folks that you can come out for,” Graham told Trump when they spoke on Monday, according to the Politico report. “Play team ball to the extent it’s possible.”
Trump’s two-fold plan includes endorsement and support of strong conservatives, along with attacking Democrats as well as Republicans who sought to impeach him.
The former president has already endorsed Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Jerry Moran of Kansas and John Kennedy of Louisiana.
Trump has also reportedly encouraged former NFL star Herschel Walker to run against Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). Warnock won against Kelly Loeffler in a special Senate runoff election in January that will be up for reelection in 2022.
In addition to supporting current and potential Republican candidates, Trump will be on the attack against some in his own party. At the top of his list is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted against him in the Senate impeachment trial.
Also on Trump’s bad side is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The former president remains upset over the Senator’s failures during and after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol siege.
Their relationship will face scrutiny over strategy regarding five open Senate races in the midterms. Current retirements include Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard Burr of North Carolina.
Both North Carolina and Pennsylvania appear most vulnerable to Democrat contenders, with Pennsylvania voting against the former president in 2020, and North Carolina going to Trump by less than 100,000 votes.
Toomey served as one of the Republican Senators who voted to impeach Trump for his involvement with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump and daughter-in-law of Donald Trump, continues to speculate about a Senate run in her home state of North Carolina. If she does, she’ll certainly receive the former president’s support.
Some see Trump’s efforts as part of an early testing ground for a 2024 presidential run. Sen. Paul Rand (R-KY) told Politico, “He’s showing more enthusiasm and involvement than most former presidents have.”
“It’s going to be different. It’ll be sort of a shadow [presidential] campaign going on. I don’t know if he’ll run again, but I think he’s definitely going to be involved in 2022.”