Three vulnerable Senate Republicans are finding it harder to distance themselves from Donald Trump DONALD TRUMPCotton: Clinton had emails about nuclear scientist executed in IranClinton opens up wide lead in Virginia; races tight in Ariz. and Nev.GOP senator still doesn’t support Trump after meeting with PenceMORE because they have yet to win their primary elections.
Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are all in a difficult spot because they are running against primary opponents who have embraced the GOP presidential nominee’s populist stances and rhetoric.
From The Hill:
The New Hampshire Senate primary is scheduled for Sept. 13, and the Arizona and Florida primaries take place Aug. 30.Rubio, himself a former presidential contender, has reluctantly endorsed Trump, putting himself on the right side of Trump’s supporters in Florida. But Ayotte and McCain are treading carefully around the controversial GOP nominee.
Ayotte has kept Trump at arm’s length, even as Democrats charge that she has failed to “stand up” to the businessman and condemn his rhetoric.
GOP strategists say Ayotte is constrained by her upcoming primary against a Trump-like challenger and the large number of pro-Trump Republicans in New Hampshire. Trump won the state’s presidential primary in February by nearly 20 points.
“Something [Ayotte] has to keep in mind is that she does have a primary in six weeks. It’s not that she has to worry about it as a threat to lose, but Trump did get 35 percent of Republican primary voters a couple of months ago,” said Fergus Cullen, former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.
“The fact that she has an opponent has been a factor in the language and rhetoric she’s used about Trump all year,” he added.
Despite Trump’s recent missteps — including inviting Russia to hack his Democratic opponent, picking a fight with the father of a soldier killed in Iraq and kicking a baby out of a rally — Ayotte has not withdrawn her support for him.
Ayotte said she was “appalled” by Trump’s criticism of Khizr Kahn, the father of Capt. Humayun Kahn, who was killed during the Iraq War in 2014. Yet she says she still plans to vote for Trump.
President Obama this week noted the various rebukes Republicans have directed at Trump and asked them, “Why are you still endorsing him?”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) on Thursday released a new digital video taking aim at Ayotte and McCain for not repudiating their nominee.
Read the full story at: The Hill