COLUMBIA, S.C.: One of Donald Trump’s earliest and strongest supporters, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, survived an unusually tough challenge from a political newcomer on Tuesday, saving Trump from embarrassment by winning a primary contest that tested anew the Republican president’s clout within his own party.

Trump backed candidates in marquee races across seven states. The hopefuls included Mitt Romney, the former presidential nominee and one-time face of the “Never Trump” movement in Utah.

Polls had closed in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Maryland, New York and Colorado. Voting continued in Utah, where Trump had endorsed Romney.

No contest mattered more to Trump than South Carolina, where McMaster had faced the possibility of losing his seat to self-made Republican millionaire John Warren. The White House went all-in for the governor in recent days, dispatching the president and the vice president to the state in an effort to prevent a political debacle.

Trump has a mixed track record when campaigning for other candidates: His preferred candidates have suffered stinging losses in Alabama and western Pennsylvania in recent months.

The South Carolina gubernatorial race headlined the latest series of primary contests across seven states. With the November general election a little more than four months away, more than half the states will have selected their candidates after the day’s final votes are counted.

History suggests that Trump’s Republican Party, like the parties of virtually every first-term president dating back to Ronald Reagan in 1982, will suffer losses this fall. Yet it remains unclear whether Democrats’ enthusiasm advantage demonstrated in the early months of Trump’s presidency will be enough to take control of Congress and key governors’ offices nationwide.

Some of the Democrats who showed up to vote Tuesday were particularly motivated by the president’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the southern border — a policy Trump reversed last week after an avalanche of criticism.

Seventy-year-old Patricia Lane cast a ballot in Bethesda, Md., despite months of tiring chemotherapy treatments. She said she was appalled by the family separations and she believed many women and mothers were similarly motivated.

“We’re who they’re afraid of at the ballot box,” Lane said.

Besides South Carolina, the president injected himself into races Tuesday in New York, where convicted felon Michael Grimm was fighting for his old job, and in Utah, where Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, was seeking a political comeback as a 71-year-old freshman senator.

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan survived a fierce challenge from Grimm, a former congressman who resigned to go to prison for tax fraud.

Grimm was leading in at least one poll when Trump weighed in on the race last month, urging voters to stick with Donovan in the Staten Island district. Trump said in a tweet that a vote for Grimm risked handing the seat to Democrats.

In Colorado, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton won the Republican primary for governor. Stapleton led a four-man field, aligning himself with Trump on immigration, health care and the federal tax plan.