Goodbye to all these Trump allies in the House

There will be far fewer reliable Trump votes and rhetorical soulmates in the House next year.

President Donald Trump signs a copy of the book 'Let Trump Be Trump' in the House chamber after his State of the Union address in 2018. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) looks on to his left. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
President Donald Trump signs a copy of the book 'Let Trump Be Trump' in the House chamber after his State of the Union address in 2018. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) looks on to his left. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than a few of the more moderate members of the Republican House caucus lost their seats in Tuesday’s elections. The narrative according to some is that these moderate losses make the House of Representatives more tied to Trump than ever. And President Trump seemed to further that himself during a press conference on Wednesday, when he blamed the losses in the House on Republicans who distanced themselves from him.

But that’s not the whole story. The 116th Congress will convene next year without several key Trump allies. The new GOP House minority will be missing their reliable Trump votes and their rhetorical mirroring of the president.

Here are the Trump allies in the House who lost their campaigns on Tuesday or are set to do so:

Dan Donovan (R-NY)

The Staten Island Republican tied himself explicitly to Trump in his first television ad of the 2018 cycle, telling voters that he was proud of working with the president. Trump endorsed him in the primary, which Donovan won against Michael Grimm, and Donovan then didn’t back away from Trump. Donovan voted 87 percent of the time with Trump’s priorities, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis.

He lost to Democrat Max Rose on Tuesday.

Lou Barletta (R-PA)

Rep. Barletta was not running for re-election in the House, but after Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered map was redone, he took on the challenge of unseating Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). Barletta is one of Trump’s biggest allies in Congress. He voted 97.8 percent with Trump’s priorities in the last Congress, per FiveThirtyEight. He has mirrored Trump’s rhetoric and Trump actively tried to help Barletta in his bid to unseat Casey. Barletta was one of Trump’s earliest supporters, something the president called out early this year.

Barletta lost the Senate race to Casey on Tuesday.

Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

When it seemed nearly the entire country, including many Republicans in Congress, were willing to criticize Trump’s disastrous summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland earlier this year, Rohrabacher was quick to defend Trump. Rohrabacher said after Trump’s election in 2016 that he was on the shortlist to be Secretary of State, praising the then-president-elect for bucking Republican orthodoxy when it comes to relations with Russia. Dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman,” Rohrabacher has praised the Russian president, scoffed at the idea that Russia tried to influence the U.S. presidential election, criticized NATO, and vehemently opposed the Magnitsky Act.


Rohrabacher is behind Democrat Harley Rouda with 100 percent of precinct reporting, though some absentee ballots will continue to trickle in until Friday.

Claudia Tenney (R-NY)

Tenney has mirrored Trump’s “lock them up,” combative approach to politics, and she campaigned for re-election by embracing him. The debate is whether Tenney had already adopted Trumpian political rhetoric as she rose through state politics via the Tea Party, or whether Trump’s rise brought that side of her to the fore. He returned the attention with his presence and money. Trump came to her district in Upstate New York to campaign and raise money for her, as did several members of the Trump administration and Trump family.

Tenney lost to Democrat Anthony Brindisi on Tuesday.

Dave Brat (R-VA)

Trump endorsed Brat, a Trump ally and Freedom Caucus member. He actively supported the president’s agenda and praised him for his economic record and tax cut bill. Brat voted with Trump almost 90 percent of the time, more frequently than FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of House voting records would indicate for the district. And he encouraged former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka to help out his campaign.

Brat lost to Democrat Abigail Spanberger on Tuesday. The last time a Democrat won this seat was 1968.

Barbara Comstock (R-VA)

On Wednesday, Trump called out Comstock as someone he wished had embraced him more during her campaign, but she was there for him almost whenever he needed in Congress. She voted 97.8 percent of the time in line with his priorities, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis, a far higher percentage than would be expected given how badly Trump lost her district in 2016. Her opponent ran an ad saying, “Barbara Comstock might as well be Barbara Trumpstock.” Even if Trump did not campaign with Comstock, his political machine worked hard behind the scenes to give her a shot. Several Trump allies helped to raise a lot of money for Comstock — who was one of a minority of vulnerable Republicans to actually out-raise their Democratic challengers.

Comstock lost handily to Democrat Jennifer Wexton on Tuesday.

Peter Roskam (R-IL)

Roskam may have done some things to try to distance himself from Trump rhetorically, calling Trump’s behavior a “mixed bag” in August. But he has been there for Trump when needed in Congress. Roskam voted with Trump 94.6 percent of the time according to FiveThirtyEight, which is a far higher percentage than would be expected in a district Trump lost by 7 points in 2016.

John Culberson (R-TX)

Trump praised Culberson at a Texas rally last month. “A great guy,” he said. “Get out and vote for John. We’ve got a ton of money being poured against him.” Culberson may have tried to avoid talking about Trump explicitly during the campaign, but he was a Trump ally on the legislative front. He voted 97.8 percent of the time in line with Trump’s priorities, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis


Culberson lost to Democrat Lizzie Fletcher on Tuesday, in a district that hadn’t elected a Democrat for the last 52 years.

Eric Paulsen (R-MN)

Paulsen voted 97.8 percent of the time in line with Trump’s priorities according to FiveThirtyEight, despite representing a district that that Trump lost by almost 10 points in 2016. Trump also endorsed him in October. Paulsen may have been one of the Republicans to sign the discharge petition to fix DACA, but he has nevertheless been a very loyal Republican member of Congress, including voting to repeal Obamacare.

Paulsen lost to Democrat Dean Phillips on Tuesday, in a district that hadn’t elected a Democrat for 57 years.

Mike Bishop (R-MI)

Trump praised Bishop last month, saying on Twitter he’s doing a “GREAT job!” Bishop said he had no reservations about appearing with Trump. Bishop voted with Trump 97.8 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Bishop lost to Democrat Elissa Slotkin on Tuesday.

Some candidates lost Republican seats vacated by departing Republicans, and won’t even get the chance to turn the Trump support they exhibited during the campaign into support in Congress, such as Jay Webber (R-NJ) who embraced Trump’s rhetoric, got an endorsement, and hosted Kellyanne Conway to campaign for him — and lost to Democrat Mikie Sherrill on Tuesday.


This list is by no means comprehensive, but it represents some of the biggest Trump allies to fail at their chance to help him in Congress.

This dynamic was not limited to Congress — it manifested in gubernatorial races as well. For example one Key Trump ally, Kris Kobach, ran for governor of Kansas. Kobach ran Trump’s ill-fated voter fraud commission and won Trump’s endorsement, in which Trump called him a “fantastic guy.” Donald Trump Jr. campaigned for him. Trump campaigned for him in October. Kobach lost to Democrat Laura Kelly on Tuesday in a huge upset.