Politics

Trump Might Avoid Republican Primaries

President tells Reuters he plans to campaign heavily for GOP candidates in midterms

President Donald Trump said he’ll spend “probably four or five days a week” campaigning for Republican candidates in the midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump says that he will campaign frequently for Republicans during the 2018 midterm elections, but might avoid getting involved in primaries.

“I am going to spend probably four or five days a week helping people because we need more Republicans,” he told Reuters. “To get the real agenda through, we need more Republicans.”

Trump told Reuters he will tout the Republican-backed tax overhaul law passed by Congress last month, which he says will grow in popularity as voters see their taxes reduced in paychecks.

The tax bill also opened up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to private oil drilling and repealed a provision in the 2010 health care law that imposed a fine on people who did not obtain health care insurance.

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“Those were very, very big things,” Trump said. “I think they’ll be very, very popular on the campaign trail.”

He also told Reuters he’ll highlight the performance of the stock market.

“If the Democrats won the election, the stock market would have gone down 50 percent from where it was,” Trump said.

But Trump said he might he might avoid getting involved in primaries.

Last year Trump endorsed former Sen. Luther Strange ahead of Alabama’s Republican primary at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Strange would lose the nomination to hard-right candidate Roy Moore before Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones.

“It’s hard sometimes. Sometimes you really like three candidates — that’s a very tough position to be in. But we have places where I like all of the candidates,” he said. 

Trump spoke positively of Kelli Ward, who at the time was staging a primary challenge to Arizona’s incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake before Flake announced he would not seek re-election.

So far, Trump has not waded into endorsing any candidate in that race. But all three candidates, including Ward, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Rep. Martha McSally, have all tied themselves to Trump.

Trump is already heading to Pittsburgh for an official presidential visit, where the 18th District is holding a special election in March to fill the seat of Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned after it was revealed he had had an extramarital affair.

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