For some Democrats hoping to win the Senate seats in their states, their Republican opponents’ support for Trump may play a role in who wins the race.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed his support for the Republican Party’s nominee back in May, criticizing Republicans who have not yet done the same.
“You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party,” he said. “I think it would be foolish to ignore them.”
McCain’s endorsement came following Trump’s previous attacks on the senator and other prisoners of war, saying, “I like people who weren’t captured.”
McCain’s support for Trump may affect the race in part due to his state’s Latino population. Trump’s repeated attacks on Latinos and Mexican immigrants have contributed to an unfavorable rating of 74 percent by Latinos in the United States, according to a recent Fox News poll. Arizona’s population is 30.5 percent Latino, and Latinos are expected to comprise 17 percent of Arizona’s registered voters this year.
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) will be challenging McCain in the election. Kirkpatrick may be able to garner the state’s Latino support. She said the Latinos are “really concerned about McCain’s support for Trump.”
Kirkpatrick has also seen strong support from the state’s Native American population, which makes up 5.3 percent of the total. Kirkpatrick grew up on an Indian reservation.
Illinois may also see an interesting Senate race thanks to Trump’s candidacy. Sen. Mark Kirk (R) previously said he would support Trump “if he’s the nominee.”
“He won the Illinois primary, in this case we have seen the Republican vote up and the Democratic vote down, so it looks like it’s a net benefit,” Kirk said.
But Tammy Duckworth (D), Kirk’s challenger, previously called Kirk’s support for Trump “helpful” for her own campaign.
“I think that Donald Trump is such a polarizing figure and it’s really amazing to me that Mark Kirk has said he will support Donald Trump and that has been helpful, honestly,” she said. “People see Donald Trump has made all these racist and misogynist statements and so has Mark Kirk, and that allows us to draw a distinction.”
Trump has made disparaging statements against Blackson his Twitter account. In November, he tweeted an image that showed a Black man in a mask holding a gun, accompanied by inaccurate statistics regarding homicides by race. According to the image, Blacks killed 81 percent of white homicide victims in 2015. However, per FBI data, this number is actually closer to 15 percent.
Meanwhile, Kirk came under fire in 2015 after making racial comments about the Black community.
“I want to make sure we have elected people constantly looking at helping the African American community. That would really adjust income differentials and make the diversity and outcome of the state much better so that the Black community is not the one we drive faster through,” he said.
Illinois’ population is 62.3 percent white, 14.7 percent Black and 16.7 percent Latino.
In New Hampshire, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s campaign stated that while “Kelly plans to support the nominee” she is not endorsing anyone at the moment.
Despite Ayotte’s refusal to “endorse” Trump, Democratic challenger Gov. Maggie Hassan slammed the senator’s support for him, the Associated Press reported.
“He is dangerous to the country,” Hassan said. “I am appalled that Sen. Ayotte is supporting him, and I think she absolutely will need to be held accountable for Donald Trump’s statements and positions.”
On Sunday Ayotte criticized comments Trump made about Mexican and Muslim U.S. judges being biased against him. Last week, Trump called the judge presiding over his Trump University court case a Mexican and a “hater” of Trump. And Sunday night he said Muslim judges would likely have the same bias against him. Judge Gonzalo Curiel was born in the U.S. to Mexican parents.
“His comments are offensive and wrong, and he should retract them,” Ayotte said in a statement.
Aaron Jacobs, a spokesman for Hassan, criticized Ayotte’s move and emphasized that Ayotte still plans to support her party’s nominee despite her comments.
“Don’t be fooled. If Kelly Ayotte really believed that Donald Trump’s latest offensive comments were wrong, she would drop her support of Trump for president,” he said. “Instead, Ayotte has made clear that she continues to support Trump, trusting him to appoint federal judges, including to the Supreme Court.”
Republican Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) last month expressed his support for the candidate and the fact that Trump would be selecting the justices.
“It is absolutely crucial to our future that we elect a Republican that’s going to be Donald Trump, and we’re going to be the ones that put three Supreme Court justices in office,” he said.
Burr called the race “the weirdest election cycle I’ve ever seen.”
“But there’s a point in time where having our preferences is no longer an option, and getting behind a candidate is absolutely essential. We’re there. It’s time.”
Democrats in the state are hoping that tying Burr to Trump will help the campaign of Deborah Ross (D), Burr’s challenger and a former state rep.
The North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement following Burr’s Trump endorsement: “He doesn’t say, but it would be great to know exactly what part of Trump’s candidacy the woman-hating, the race-baiting, or his history as a con man which of those things does Burr support” spokesman Dave Miranda said.
In May, Ross spoke on a podcast and called this election a time of change. When asked if her campaign will focus on the fact that Burr supports Trump, Ross said, “I think to the extent that Sen. Burr is aligned with Donald Trump on issues, we’re gonna be doing that, but there’s plenty to talk about with Sen. Burr’s record, too.”
According to data from Public Polling Policy, a left-leaning polling center, Burr’s support for Trump will make 48 percent of pollsters less likely to vote for him.