It is the former president’s insistence on playing a haphazard kingmaker, however, that is most troubling to Republican officials and strategists. In Pennsylvania, where the party is perhaps most at risk of losing a Senate seat, Mr. Trump endorsed Sean Parnell, a military veteran who has been accused by his ex-wife of spousal and child abuse.
More broadly, Mr. Trump is complicating Mr. McConnell’s recruitment campaign by making clear his contempt for the sort of center-right Republicans who refuse to echo his lies about last year’s election. Two New England governors, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire and Phil Scott of Vermont, indicated this month that they would not run for the Senate, Mr. Hogan appears more intent on pursuing a long-shot presidential campaign, and Mr. Ducey continues to insist that he will not challenge first-term Senator Mark Kelly.
“I’m not running for the United States Senate, and I’m 100 percent focused on this final year as Arizona’s governor,” Mr. Ducey said in Phoenix, while voicing his respect for Mr. McConnell, who is wooing him with the ardor and attentiveness of a college football coach pursuing a five-star high school quarterback.
Mr. Ducey, who is one of Mr. Trump’s most frequent targets for his refusal to overturn Arizona’s vote for Mr. Biden, betrayed it-is-what-it-is fatigue with the former president. The governors would “control the controllable,” he said. Attempting to consider Mr. Trump’s role, he added, was like “trying to predict what can’t be predicted.”
Most other Republican governors in Phoenix were just as uninterested in discussing Mr. Trump, displaying the sort of evasiveness many adopted while he was in office.
Hustling to a panel session, Mr. Kemp dismissed a question about a challenge from Mr. Perdue by noting that he had already “made statements on that.” Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who faces a challenge from former Representative Jim Renacci, said, “I don’t think the president is going to do that,” when asked about whether Mr. Trump would side with Mr. Renacci. Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama, whom Mr. Trump blames for not being allowed to hold a July 4 rally on the U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile, said she was “going to be fine” in her primary and then jumped in a waiting vehicle.