Former President Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP remains strong, as shown by the recent victory of a former NASCAR driver who secured his crucial endorsement just days before Tuesday’s election.

Austin Theriault, who last competed in over five races during the 2019 NASCAR season, has secured the Republican Party’s nomination for Maine’s second congressional district. He will face off against Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME), who is seeking a fourth term. The election is anticipated to be one of the most closely-watched congressional contests of the 2024 cycle.

Theriault dominated election night, defeating his GOP rival with 66.2 percent of the vote to 33.8 percent, according to WMTW-TV in Poland Spring, Maine, as reported by the Western Journal. The former NASCAR star, now working in driver development, called his win the “honor of my life.” He added, according to WMTW: “I deeply appreciate the support and want folks to know: I am running to fight for you. It’s time to start putting people over politics. Too many Mainers have been forgotten and left behind by the political system in DC and the big money on Wall Street.”

“The reality is that Jared Golden and Joe Biden have failed us, and we see the results every day,” Theriault said. “The 2nd District is falling further and further behind, and that’s not acceptable to me. That’s why I got in this race. We need to look at November as a good chance to get Maine’s 2nd District back on its feet.” He went on to credit Trump’s endorsement for his win and said the former president remains very popular in his state.

“He looked at [the race] and said, ‘I think he’s a good fit for the Second District,’” Theriault said, according to WMTW. “‘He’s somebody that can go to Congress and get stuff done.’” If elected, he is expected to continue supporting House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) for another term after the Louisiana Republican extended his own endorsement in the race. Theriault said that immigration would be a top priority for him as part of a GOP majority in the House. “I know that we live thousands of miles away from the southern border, but it’s a huge issue because of the drugs coming across and the human trafficking,” he said.

In addition to his day job, Theriault currently serves as a state representative in Maine’s legislature. However, he noted that constituents best remember him for his NASCAR days. “I won races and championships and was able to win at Daytona,” he said. “But what people often overlook is that being a successful driver requires knowing how to run a successful business.” He added that his business experience parallels the acumen voters seek in Trump. “In this day and age, I believe that folks — when they go to the ballot box — are looking for people that have business experience, similar to President Trump,” he said.

Last week, Riverside, California Sheriff Chad Bianco announced his endorsement of former President Donald Trump shortly after he was convicted on 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s controversial “hush money” case.

“You know, for the past 30 years I’ve been doing everything I could to keep our community safe by arresting criminals and putting them in jail and putting them in prison, keeping them out of our neighborhoods,” the plain-spoken sheriff said in an Instagram video. After he went on to list more of California’s soft-on-crime policies, Bianco joked that he would now “change teams.”

I think it’s time we put a felon in the White House. Trump 2024, baby. Let’s save this country and make America great again,” he added.

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Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.