Endorsement tracker: Some California Republicans still not ready for Trump
By Sarah D. Wire
May 16, 2016 | 12:50 PM
About half of the Republicans in California's U.S. House delegation aren't ready to say Donald Trump is their guy.
The New York businessman has been the presumptive nominee for more than a week, but five of the 14 California GOP lawmakers will not say outright that they are backing Trump.
Several couch their support by saying only that they will be for the "Republican nominee."
Most of California's Republican members of Congress have stayed out of the primary, especially as it seemed more likely that the June 7 contest here would be decisive. A handful endorsed a candidate early, but those endorsements stopped as the crowded field dwindled.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) was one of the first members of Congress to publicly back Trump, telling Politico at the time, "We don't need a policy wonk as president. We need a leader as president."
He was the only congressional supporter from California until after Trump dominated the May 3 Indiana primary, pushing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) quickly became a frequent Trump surrogate on cable news and on Capitol Hill. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has indicated he'll endorse Trump if he's the nominee. Hunter, Issa and McCarthy are Trump convention delegates.
When I make that endorsement I hope it’s going to be a ticket I can be proud of and one that is winnable.
I don’t agree with him on everything, but he's right on immigration and he's right on cronyism in Washington.
— McClintock on Trump
Some Republicans said they would vote for Trump because they can't support a Democrat.
"I don’t agree with him on everything, but he's right on immigration and he's right on cronyism in Washington,” said Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove. "I'd rather have somebody who I’m not entirely sure would do the right thing as opposed to someone like Hillary Clinton, who I'm assured would do the wrong thing."
Rep. Paul Cook of Yucca Valley at first said that even though Trump's ascension was a "foregone conclusion," he wanted to see who Trump would pick as his vice presidential running mate before endorsing.
“When I make that endorsement I hope it’s going to be a ticket I can be proud of and one that is winnable,” Cook said.
But on Wednesday he endorsed Trump in a statement with his request that Trump choose someone to balance the ticket.
"He's tapped into the discontent and frustration pent up over the last eight years, and he represents an alternative to the normal political channels that have turned off so many Americans. I will support Donald Trump just as I have supported every Republican presidential nominee," he said.
"We still got a convention," he told The Times in an interview after the debate. "And they are not going to cancel the convention and he still hasn't gotten enough delegates. So until that happens, I think this is a moot point, I think this is something for sensationalism."
Central Valley Reps. Jeff Denham and David Valadao each have shied away from endorsing another candidate after Bush ended his bid.
I will be supporting the Republican nominee.
— Denham via Twitter
I’m going to stick with the winner from my party, obviously.
Denham has said that he would support the nominee. Both he and Valadao have said they won't endorse before California's June 7 primary.
Nathan Gonzales, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report newsletter, said it makes sense for candidates worried about angering supporters to distance their election from Trump's.
“Some congressional Republicans are going to have to form coalitions of Trump supporters and people who are offended by Trump,” he said. “The worst-case scenarios happen for Republicans when Republicans don't turn out to vote.”
This list was compiled through conversations with the 55 members of California’s congressional delegation and their staffs, news reports and social media statements. It will be updated as members make or change endorsements. Members marked as "none" either have not endorsed a candidate, or it was unclear if they have. Send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.