Trump and Clinton Running Opposite Campaigns When It Comes to Down-Ballot Races
Tepid support compared with more full-throated efforts.
October 24, 2016, 3:14 PM
• 6 min read
-- When it comes to Election Day, it's not just the furious battle at the top of the ticket that's at stake, and the presidential candidates appear to be taking very different approaches to their down-ballot colleagues.
Hillary Clinton and other high-profile Democrats are sharing the spotlight with some of those vying for other seats that are up for grabs, and while Donald Trump has tried to make recent calls for support for other Republicans, his earlier comments may make his efforts seem half-hearted.
Trump campaigned in Florida this weekend and touted the work that he could do "along with a Republican House and Senate," including an immediate repeal of "Obamacare" and "massive tax reduction."
But he did not give the state's Republican senator, Trump's former rival for the GOP nomination Marco Rubio, a shout-out.
Trump has mentioned Rubio in the state, but a reference on Oct. 11 shows how contentious his relationship appears to be with the man he used to call "Little Marco."
"Remember when we were in the primary — I ran against Marco, Jeb [Bush], all these guys ... Hey, look, Marco has been very, very nice lately, and I hope he wins. I do," Trump said at an event in Panama City.
Trump has strained relationships with other lawmakers running for re-election. He was famously reluctant to endorse Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and insulted Arizona Sen. John McCain, both of whom are leading in their races.
It isn't only in the more secure races that he is playing a potentially damaging role, however. In addition to his tepid support for Rubio in the Florida race, Trump has criticized Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is in a close race to hold on to her seat in New Hampshire.
The rocky relationships between the top of the Republican ticket and those running in down-ballot races are in stark contrast to what's happening on the Democratic side.
Clinton has regularly featured down-ballot candidates at her rallies, typically in the preprogram, and occasionally she goes to private events or meetings with them while in town.
She has amped up her support in recent days by including in her speeches detailed sections laying out Democratic candidates' resumes or their opponents' unwillingness to stand up to Trump.
One recent example came in Philadelphia, when she criticized Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey and praised Democratic challenger Katie McGinty.
Clinton listed various groups and people Trump has insulted and said Toomey "heard Donald Trump insult" those groups. Though Toomey has not endorsed Trump, he has not renounced him, saying he "remain[s] unpersuaded" when it comes to who will get his vote.
"If he doesn't have the courage to stand up against Donald Trump after all of this, then how will stand up to special interests and powerful forces that are going to be trying to have their way in Washington?" Clinton said of Toomey on Saturday. "So it's important that all of you do everything you can in these last 17 days to make the case to send Katie McGinty to Washington."
Clinton, as well as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have attended events supporting down-ballot races or included those running in local races at their rallies for Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine.