As the long-term effects of the devastating coronavirus pandemic become more apparent and the country assesses reopening, critics claim some vulnerable Senate Republicans appear to be shifting their campaign messaging away from their ties to President Donald Trump.
Recent polling has shown Trump’s approval ratings on the pandemic pale in comparison to his executive counterparts at the state level and his underwater marks appear to be bleeding into the ways that incumbent Republicans fight their battles on the campaign front. An ABC News / Ipsos poll showed President Trump’s approval ratings on the coronavirus response remaining underwater, with the latest number at 42%.
Some campaigns appear to be turning away from Trump in an effort to reiterate their accomplishments in providing aid to their home states, while in the halls of the Senate, party loyalty leads the narrative. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican running an uncompetitive race this year, even released an ad on Tuesday, primary day in Nebraska, highlighting that, at times, he has criticized Trump and received negative attention from the president for doing so.
Although Arizona Sen. Martha McSally hosted Trump in his first visit outside of Washington since the country began re-opening, he hasn’t been featured in her ads or other media, and public opinion shows his approval rating on coronavirus response is tanking.
The campaign, though, says they still feel McSally’s ties to Trump are ultimately beneficial.
“Obviously, Sen. McSally was happy to have the president come and tout what Arizona is doing,” a campaign spokesperson said. “It was a good thing. They did get relief out pretty quick, that’s been one of the president’s priorities, so I think it does help.”
McSally’s Senate office announced Tuesday night that she met with President Trump to discuss further flexibility in Arizona’s CARES Act funding.
Vulnerable Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst recently did a tele-townhall with Team Trump. A visit to Iowa is the first trip outside of Washington Vice President Pence made, but Trump has been missing from recent ads put out by the Ernst campaign.
“Joni’s focus is on providing relief to Iowans during the pandemic. Whether it’s Iowa’s agriculture or small business communities, rural hospitals, or families, Joni is committed to delivering the resources they need,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
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SOURCE: ABC News – Lucia Graves