Republicans Gardner, Coffman, Glenn Tell Trump To Step Aside. How Will Voters React?
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's 2005 comments describing what amounts to sexually assaulting women have cost him the support of many leading members of his party, including three in Colorado.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman and Senate candidate Darryl Glenn all called on Trump to leave the ticket this weekend.
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In a statement to The Denver Post, Coffman said Trump should step aside for good of the country.
“For the good of the country, and to give the Republicans a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump should step aside,” Coffman said in a statement emailed by his campaign to The Denver Post Friday night. “His defeat at this point seems almost certain and four years of Hillary Clinton is not what is best for this country.”
Gardner took to Twitter and said he will write in Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, for president if Trump doesn't withdraw. Via KKTV:
"I am committed to defeating Hillary Clinton. The only way this is now possible is with a new nominee that reflects the values of our country and our party. I will not vote for Donald Trump. If Donald Trump wishes to defeat Hillary Clinton, he should do the only thing that will allow us to do so - step aside, and allow Mike Pence to be the Republican party's nominee. If he fails to do so, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton but will instead write-in my vote for Mike Pence."
And on Facebook, Senate candidate Darryl Glenn said Trump's comments disqualify him from being commander-in-chief:
"Donald Trump is simply disqualified from being Commander in Chief --America cannot have a man who speaks this way about women be the face of our country to the Free World. I am therefore calling on Donald Trump to do the honorable, selfless thing--voluntarily step aside and let Mike Pence be our party's nominee so that we can defeat Hillary Clinton, keep control of the Senate, and put our nation back on a path of safety and security. If Trump is truly committed to making America great again, then this is the only way forward."
Also, it's lower profile, but Trump's Larimer County co-chair, Nicolas Morse, took to Twitter to publicly resign his role with the Trump campaign. Morse is also the Republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, and his announcement is a big change.
It's also a big shift for Glenn, who's been more willing than most Republican candidates to embrace Trump -- he opened enthusiastically for Trump at his first Colorado Springs rally.
Gardner has said in the past he would vote for Trump, but his support has been even less than lukewarm.
Coffman's made his distaste for Trump a part of his campaign. He released an ad weeks ago saying he doesn't care for the candidate, so it's not a surprise that he was the first to jump ship entirely this weekend.
Coffman is in probably in the toughest race of his political career. His district is very politically divided and has a lot of Latino and immigrant voters. Because of that, his opponent, Morgan Carroll, is doing every thing she can to link him to Trump. And her campaign said Coffman's weekend announcement was too little, too late.
News outlets have been tallying all the elected officials who have renounced Trump. Closer to home it's hard to tell yet how voters will react. Read through some of the comments on Coffman, Gardner, and Glenn's Facebook pages and there are definitely lots of angry Trump supporters out there vowing to vote them out of office. The question is going to be: How large is that group, and will they really withhold their votes?
Most of the rest of Colorado's Republicans in Congress have said they're disappointed with the tape, but that they're standing by the candidate. Doug Lamborn told the Colorado Springs Gazette that he's glad Trump apologized. Scott Tipton is quoted in the Grand Junction Sentinel saying he's appalled by the comments, but electing Trump is important to advance the policies he supports: undoing Obamacare and growing Colorado's rural economy. Eastern Plains Congressman Ken Buck has yet to make a statement.
The Trump tapes and the reaction to them revive a Democratic political attack line that's really familiar in this state: Republicans have a war on women. It was an attack Democrats used very effectively in Democrat Michael Bennet's first Senate run, against Buck. It's a line that former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall relied on a lot -- unsuccessfully -- against Gardner two years ago.
In the midst of all this, the Clinton campaign is coming to town. Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is at the National Western Stock Show Monday afternoon for a concert and get- out-the vote event with musician Dave Matthews. Clinton will campaign in Pueblo on Wednesday. This is the first time in more than a month that there's been a member of the Democratic ticket in Colorado.
For a while polls suggested Clinton had locked up Colorado and so the campaign really focused elsewhere. More recently, polls showed Trump tying things up or even leading. That led his campaign to ramp up its efforts; Trump, Pence and a couple of Trump's children have all swung through the state recently. So it's not surprising the Clinton campaign is back again.
It's important to remember that the polls right now don't reflect any public response to the Trump tapes or to last night's debate. But there are moments in political campaigns when polling data can offer some context. Two sites that collect and average all the major polls -- Real Clear Politics and 538 -- have Clinton up 6 to 7 points in the state.