Surprise Endorsement by POTUS Confuses Californian Race

The Story:

Recently, President Donald Trump tweeted his “total and complete endorsement” for Paul Cook, a Republican Congressman running for re-election. This shocked many observers, because Cook’s opponent, Tim Donnelly, is running to Cook’s right, especially on immigration policy, and is considered by many to be the true Trumpian in the race.


The 8th borders Mexico and embraces much of the desert region in the southeast of California. The 8th delivered majorities for Republican candidates in each of the last two presidential campaigns, although it may be of interest that it delivered a larger majority for Mitt Romney (2012) than for Trump (2016). Cook was first elected to his present seat the year Romney ran as the GOP nominee.

This is the only district in California where two Republican candidates are facing each other in a run-off November election.

The Thing to Know:

Donnelly was talking up the need for a border wall as early as 2006, nine years before it became part of the Donald Trump campaign. His supporters are stunned that the President is not supporting Donnelly, as they consider Cook the epitome of the established-Republican ‘swamp’ that Trump has vowed to drain.


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