With Donald Trump emerging as the Republican party’s likely presidential nominee, how will his candidacy affect the campaigns of Illinois Republicans?
Republican Strategist Chris Robling told Ward Room that he believes Trump could help certain statewide candidates.
“Downstate and in the collar counties, and even somewhat in the city, for a statewide candidate like [Senator] Mark Kirk or [Illinois Comptroller] Leslie Munger, I think Trump is good news,” Robling said.
“He’s unusual and he’s unconventional and he’s historically different, I grant you that,” Robling added. “He’s unique, historically, but that doesn’t mean he’s a monster.”
Trump scored a strong victory in March’s Illinois primary, netting 54 of the state’s 69 delegates.
But some Republicans are slow to accept Trump as the nominee, over concerns about his proposal to build a Mexican border wall and his call to slow Muslim immigration to the U.S.
Congressman Bob Dold (R-10) has refused to support Trump, and is planning to write in a presidential candidate when he votes in November, according to Politico.
Sen. Mark Kirk previously said that he would support Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee, but will skip the RNC.
“[Kirk is] in the top Senate race in the nation and he's going to be campaigning for re-election," Kirk spokesman Kevin Artl said last month. “He will be attending the State GOP convention in Peoria in May.”
A Republican Illinois Senate candidate hasn’t won an election in a presidential year since 1972.
Bruce Rauner will also be skipping the GOP convention in July, his office confirmed Thursday, his first as governor of Illinois. He will not endorse Trump either, according to a spokesperson.
Across the country, prominent Republicans are also slow to accept the billionaire's candidacy.
2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain claims Trump is affecting his bid for reelection in Arizona, a state with a large hispanic population.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who said he wasn’t ready to back Trump, will meet with the candidate next week.