GOP primary hopefuls run towards President Trump in their pitches to voters

Posted at 12:07 PM, Apr 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-25 12:07:48-04

In the daily presidential tracking polls, the approval rate of President Donald Trump may be around 40 percent, but in Republican races across Ohio, constituents will find primary hopefuls running towards him and his policies, not from him.

Their ads often touting their willingness to work with the president in Washington particularly in carrying out his agenda, often pointing out how their opponents will likely not.

"I think what we're seeing is that GOP candidates are embracing the accomplishments of the Trump Administration and the GOP lead congress particularly the tax cut plan, the economy and even some degree foreign policy," said News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin-Wallace University.

"From a policy perspective, I think they're very much tied to what his administration represents and is trying to accomplish."

In the last statewide GOP primary in 2016, Ohio was very much a house divided as most state leaders, including gubernatorial hopefuls Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Attorney General Mike DeWine both were backing Gov. John Kasich's presidential bid. Kasich won the state in March of 2016 but Trump won the nomination and the White House.

Kasich gave Taylor his endorsement early in the process which she pretty much has run from as both candidates try now to paint themselves to GOP primary voters as true conservatives and the one best suited to work with the White House.

Ohio is not alone, in states like West Virginia you have Republican hopefuls like Don Blankenship who is running an ad where he states his intention to re-litigate the 2016 campaign. "We don't need to investigate our president, we need to arrest Hillary," Blankenship's ad states.

"I think where you really see that being the case," said Sutton "is in solid red states that are clearly pro-Trump country and always have been and in swing districts like District 16 in Ohio that have been Republican districts since redistricting in 2010."

In that district businessman and former football player Anthony Gonzalez and State Rep. Christina Hagan are running as strong conservatives who support President Trump and his agenda. Hagan an early supporter of the president's having campaigned for him strongly in 2016.

The key point to remember Sutton said is that while the president's overall approval ratings may be low, his support among Republicans and in turn GOP primary voters is still consistently north of 80 percent.