Politics & Government

Metro-east’s GOP congressmen plan to support Trump if he’s nominee

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his supporters during a rally at the Charleston Civic Center on Thursday in Charleston, W.V.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his supporters during a rally at the Charleston Civic Center on Thursday in Charleston, W.V. The Washington Post

As Donald Trump becomes the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president, GOP congressmen representing the metro-east say they will support their party’s nominee.

Trump is the last person running in the Republican race as all other candidates have suspended their campaigns. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich dropped out after Trump’s victory in Indiana.

Spokesmen for Republican U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis, Mike Bost and John Shimkus said they intend to support the party’s eventual nominee.

Jordan Haverly, spokesman for Shimkus of Collinsville, said the Shimkus “will support Trump, if he’s the nominee.”

Whether Shimkus attends the Republican National Convention in July has yet to be determined.

“We’re still working out summer scheduling,” Haverly said.

Haverly would not comment on whether Shimkus had any concerns about Trump’s candidacy.

He will support Trump, if he’s the nominee.

Jordan Haverly, spokesman for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville

Shimkus’ district is comprised of all or part of 33 counties. Trump, the New York City business mogul, won 25 of those counties.

Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, which is represented by Davis, includes parts or all of 14 counties. Trump won 10 of those counties.

Davis has said leading up to the primary he was supporting Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who dropped out after failing to win his home state, which held its primary the same day as Illinois.

“As he has said on multiple occasions, Congressman Davis will be supporting the Republican nominee for president,” said Philip Lasseigne, spokesman for Davis.

Lasseigne did not comment on whether Davis, who faces Democrat Mark Wicklund in the November general election, would attend the Republican National Convention.

Bost, who has said he voted for Kasich, will support whoever the nominee is for the Republican Party, said Jim Forbes, Bost spokesman.

However Forbes would not comment further and could not comment on whether Bost, who faces Democrat CJ Baricevic in November, would be attending the convention.

Trump won every county in Bost’s congressional district.

The odds of Trump winning Illinois in November may be long, as the state has voted for the Democrat candidate for president since the 1992 election.

In March, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received more than half of the more than 2 million votes cast in Illinois’ Democratic primary in Illinois. Only 1.4 million votes were cast in the Republican primary.

Senator Kirk has his own re-election to win, so he will be working hard toward that goal, not going to the Republican convention in Ohio.

Kirk campaign manager Kevin Artl

U.S. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican who is in a re-election battle against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, intends to stay in Illinois, the traditionally blue state, during the convention.

“Senator Kirk has his own re-election to win, so he will be working hard toward that goal, not going to the Republican convention in Ohio,” Kirk campaign manager Kevin Artl said.

Kirk’s campaign added the first-term senator has not endorsed Trump for president and has stayed away from weighing in on the presidential race.

Kirk’s seat is considered vulnerable for Senate Republicans in the upcoming election.

Other Republican senators have been saying they will stay away from the convention, where Trump is expected to officially become the party’s nominee.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, and Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska aren’t going to the covnention or are leaning against it.

According to published reports, Gov. Bruce Rauner intends to stay away from the convention as well, and won’t endorse Trump. The governor has tried to stay out of the presidential race.

Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said on Friday he does not plan to vote for Trump nor Clinton.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, said on Thursday Trump has yet to earn his vote, and both former President George Bush and George W. Bush, as well as 2012 Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney have said they will not attend the 2012 GOP convention.

Trump is in his first political campaign, and has been criticized for his remarks on women, his proposed Muslim immigration policy, opposition to free-trade agreements and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants.

He has been accused of encouraging violence at his campaign rallies when protesters have interupted him.

When Illinois held its presidential primaries in March, Trump won the Republican race by 8 percentage points, with Cruz coming in second place.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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