US Senate Republicans have been privately rooting for former president Donald Trump's endorsed candidate in Ohio to lose in the state’s Senate Republican primary election.
In Ohio, the Trump-backed candidate, J.D. Vance, is competing in the state primary on Tuesday.
However, one Republican senator following the race said some of his colleagues were rooting for anyone but the Trump-backed candidate to win, The Hill reported on Monday.
“If he doesn’t win, we will exploit that for everything it’s worth and say the Trump endorsement isn’t the be-all, end-all it once was and maybe now we can get some breathing room from the craziness,” said a senior Senate GOP aide.
The aide added that 70 percent of Senate Republicans shared the anti-Trump sentiment; however, only a few of them would openly admit it.
In the meantime, since Trump backed Vance in April his support has roughly doubled.
Polls show that Vance is ahead in the Ohio primary where he now has a lead of a few points over his rival former state treasurer Josh Mandel.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (Rep) has campaigned for Mandel over the weekend and on Tuesday praised him as “a strong candidate.”
“My philosophy on endorsements is I look for the strongest conservative who can win, and I spent two days this weekend campaigning with Josh in Ohio. We had packed crowds everywhere we went. There was enormous enthusiasm on the ground, but it’s going to depend on turnout [Tuesday] and who shows up to vote,” Cruz noted.
Cruz added that in his opinion if Vance loses the primary it would not mean that Trump was losing his clout.
Trump's critics say that the Republican Party's support for the former president was a mistake, insisting that GOP should dump him.
“I don’t think he should be our nominee — the Republican Party nominee,” Trump critic, former US Attorney General William Barr, was quoted as saying by The Hill.
“And I think Republicans have a big opportunity — it would be a big mistake to put him forward,” he noted.