After a night of major defeats, former president Donald Trump shifted blame to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Republican, for losing Kentucky’s gubernatorial race.
In 2020, Trump won Kentucky by 62 percent over President Joe Biden. So, losing to a Democrat in a deep red state was a stinging defeat for Trump – showing that his endorsement had no impact.
But Trump found a scapegoat.
“Daniel Cameron lost because he couldn’t alleviate the stench of Mitch McConnell. I told him early that’s a big burden to overcome,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social.
But Cameron, the first Black person elected to statewide office in Kentucky and a rising star in the Republican Party, has distanced himself from McConnell, as a Louisville Courier op-ed noted after Cameron won the GOP nomination. Cameron’s campaign strategy involved touting Trump’s endorsement.
Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie disagreed with Trump’s explanation for Cameron’s defeat.
“Daniel Cameron made a huge mistake by embracing Donald Trump and selling his soul to him. And that’s what he did. And the voters of Kentucky, a very red state, as you noted, gave their verdict on politicians who sell their soul to Donald Trump,” Christie said on CNN, according to The Hill.
The 2023 elections were a bruising night for Republicans. In addition to losing the Kentucky race, Virginia voters rebuked GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s conservative agenda by electing Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers. In Ohio, a conservative state, voters overwhelmingly supported a plan to add abortion rights to the state’s constitution.
Some Republicans who once feared to criticize Trump openly blamed the former president for the string of GOP losses that started in 2018.
The Washington Examiner reports that presidential hopefuls Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley compared the off-year 2023 elections to the 2022 midterms. Last year, Trump’s endorsement helped GOP candidates win their primary races but caused them to lose in the general election.