Republican leaders in the Massachusetts House and Senate are hardly rushing to endorse their party’s presidential nominee.
Quizzed about their stance on Donald Trump over the past few weeks, the House and Senate minority leaders and several lawmakers on their leadership teams declined to say whether Trump will receive their votes in November.
House Minority Leader Brad Jones and several other top Republicans also made clear, however, that they would not vote for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s nominee, and stopped short of saying who would receive their votes.
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of the last primary candidates to drop out and a pol who has continued to spar with Trump after the New York real estate developer won the nomination.
Trump picked up nearly 50 percent of the Republican primary vote in Massachusetts in March on his way to sealing up the Republican nomination, but his stances and style have turned off longtime members of the GOP around the country.
Clinton, who for decades has battled with Republicans as first lady, New York senator and in defense of her role as secretary of state, is not a viable alternative for many Republicans feeling put off by their party’s nominee.
Gov. Charlie Baker, a Swampscott Republican, has said he won’t vote for Trump, Clinton, or Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is Johnson’s running mate, said last week he thinks former Gov. Mitt Romney is considering endorsing the Libertarian ticket.
Jones ruled out casting a vote for the Democratic party’s nominee. Asked if he would vote for Trump, Jones said, “I won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton. Let’s put it that way.”
Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Whitman Republican who has clashed at times with Jones, is Trump’s most high-profile elected supporter in the Bay State.
Some pols indicated they are inclined to ignore the top of the ticket for now.
“I’m having a tough time with it, as a lot of people are. I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton,” Senate Assistant Minority Leader Richard Ross, a Wrentham Republican, told the News Service on Monday. Ross said Trump’s lack of political experience “may be the one positive aspect that he might have.”
Ross, who said he hasn’t made up his mind on who will receive his presidential vote, challenged a reporter who noted Trump is his party’s presidential nominee, countering, “Who said that’s my party?” Ross is still a Republican.