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Port: Needing wins in primaries, Trump endorses Hoeven over Becker in Senate primary

Hoeven didn't need Trump's endorsement to win, but Trump sure needs Hoeven's win so he can continue to portray himself as the puppet master in Republican politics.

Bison White House visit Trump Hoeven Stick.jpg
President Donald Trump congratulations NDSU football quarterback Easton Stick and other members of the team during an event at the White House March 4, 2019. Sen. Kevin Cramer, left, and Sen. John Hoeven, right, also attended the event.
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MINOT, N.D. — In terms of appealing to the MAGAverse, state Rep. Rick Becker did everything right.

He pandered to 2020 election conspiracies. He called for mass arrests of the supposed "deep state" while his Trumpy supporters called for executions. He courted the Qanon crowd long and hard.

But, proving once again that loyalty to Trumpism earns you nothing, the disgraced former president didn't endorse Becker's insurgent primary campaign against Republican Senate incumbent John Hoeven.

Trump endorsed Hoeven.

Why would Trump not pick Becker who has worked long and hard to make himself the MAGA candidate in this race?

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It's easy. Trump looked at certain political realities in North Dakota, and picked the person he thought would win.

Trump's midterm endorsements have not been going well . He's endorsed a lot of candidates, and if a lot of them lose, it will shatter his reputation as Republican kingmaker.

MORE FROM ROB PORT
I'm just not seeing a constituency of North Dakota voters that Mund could appeal to that's large enough to lead her to victory. But, again, that's assuming that she's running to win, and not as a way to keep her celebrity alive post-Miss America.

If Trump can't lean on his ability to put candidates over the top against his enemies in key races, then what does he have left to keep Republicans in line?

Becker may be able to sneak out a win at the NDGOP's state endorsing convention — rumor is Hoeven's people have been counting noses and feel they have a slight majority, but there are so many variables that sort of calculation can't be relied upon — but the winner actually gets picked in June on the primary ballot.

Hoeven is heavily favored to win in June.

Trump, by endorsing Hoeven, would get to count that June win on his endorsements scorecard.

I don't think Trump's endorsement actually moves the needle as much as some may think in North Dakota. His endorsement certainly didn't matter in the treasurer's race during the 2020 cycle.

Hoeven didn't need Trump's endorsement to win, but Trump sure needs Hoeven's win so he can continue to portray himself as the puppet master in Republican politics.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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