Republicans in Tight Races More Likely to Abandon Donald Trump

The majority of GOP candidates not voting for Trump are in close races.

— -- While Donald Trump’s nontraditional presidential campaign has attracted its share of criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike, recent controversies, like the discovery of a video in which Trump is captured making disparaging remarks about women and subsequent claims of sexual assault made against him, have pushed many in the GOP to a breaking point.

An ABC News count of notable Republicans running for election to Congress this year finds 35 candidates who have said they will not vote for Trump. Of those, 20 are running in competitive elections, defined by ABC’s race ratings as toss-ups or leaning toward one party. Safe districts and states are termed solid.

In July 2015, Trump, giving rise to one of the first controversies of his campaign, said that McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and a Vietnam veteran who spent over five years as a prisoner of war, was “not a war hero” and that he likes people “who weren’t captured.”

In House of Representatives races, candidates’ stances on Trump appear to be directly tied to the competitiveness of their districts. Of the 10 Republican incumbents running for re-election in congressional districts rated as toss-ups by ABC News, seven have pledged not to vote for Trump.

Each of the seven races looked competitive before the candidates disavowed support for their party’s presidential nominee, indicating that a rebuke of Trump was not the cause of the representative’s electoral trouble but perhaps a way to attract votes from independents and across party lines.

As for other representatives who have turned away from Trump, the two best known are from Utah, whose large Mormon population has expressed widespread disapproval of him. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, whose 3rd Congressional District is safe, and Rep. Mia Love of Utah’s 4th Congressional District — rated leaning Republican by ABC News — both Mormons, have said they will not vote for Trump.

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