The Trump factor to play heavily in midterm elections, political experts say

Voters are heading to the polls to pick the people to represent their party for November's midterm election.

Campaign attack ads have increased as we approach the finish line for the March 1 primary election. This midterm, we've seen multiple Republican candidates prominently feature one man. 

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed candidates in statewide races, like governor and attorney general and also local races like Tarrant County judge. 

"It serves as a powerful mobilizing tool in a low turnout election," said SMU Political Scientist Matthew Wilson. "So someone who has President Trump's endorsement can count on a core of built and motivated supporters to go to the poll on their behalf."

Former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has been hit left and right with attack ads from Tim O'Hare. They are claims she calls lies.

Donald Trump

(White House photo)

In this race, Wilson says the Trump factor could hurt Price.

"It's the combination of the negative ads and the Trump endorsement because the Trump endorsement gives some credibility among a segment of the Republican base to those charges," Wilson said. "So he's alleging that he is significantly more conservative than Betsy Price and that he is a culture warrior where she is not."

In the Republican Primary for Texas' Third Congressional District, Republican Van Taylor is trying to keep his seat. 

Taylor’s opponents have tried to hammer him on his vote to certify the 2020 election results and support for an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot. Taylor voted 'no' on the question to create a house committee to investigate the insurrection. 

While Taylor is being called out for what some Republicans say was a betrayal, Wilson believes the Trump factor won't hurt Taylor. 

"I think he's pretty safe. His opposition within the primary is pretty nominal, and his district was made safer during redistricting, strengthening the Republican character of that district," Wilson said.

Conservative challengers for governor, like Don Huffines, claim incumbent Greg Abbott is "not conservative enough," but that doesn’t match reality. 

Gov. Abbott has taken some of the most conservative stances in recent months and also has the endorsement of Trump. 

"Huffines will try to make that argument. But the fact that Trump has endorsed Abbott also kind of undercuts the claim that Abbott is really a rino, not a true conservative," Wilson said. "And so this is a case where if there were any doubt, Trump's endorsement on Abbott's side really kind of puts that line of criticism to rest. And I think Abbott will win with them."

Wilson believes the biggest Trump factor will be the Republican race for attorney general. Trump backed Paxton, and he’s trying to fend off more establishment candidates like George P. Bush and Eva Guzman.