Republican Scott Jones, campaigning to unseat Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in a Sacramento County swing district, has confirmed he will vote for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Jones, the elected county sheriff, has staked out moderate positions on immigration and social issues. He supports a path to legal status for unauthorized immigrants and opposes deporting the more than 11 million living in the U.S. illegally.
But in a prepared statement to The Sacramento Bee, Jones said that while he disagrees with many things Trump says, he shares the New York businessman’s desire to strengthen the military and fight gridlock in Washington.
“Given the alternative, I will be voting for him,” Jones said.
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“No matter who wins the White House, however, the people of our district deserve a representative who will fight for our safety, our jobs and our future, and who will stand up to the president and the leaders in Congress when they are wrong,” he added. “I have done that as sheriff, and I will continue to do so as a representative.”
Jones spoke favorably of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio before his departure from the presidential race, and said he could not conceive of voting for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Bera’s choice for president. He first voiced his commitment to back the GOP nominee, including Trump, two months ago as Trump continued to rack up primary wins.
Other Republicans are withholding endorsements or disassociating themselves from Trump, who has alienated many Latinos, Muslims, women and other groups on his way to the nomination.
On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wasn’t prepared to back Trump, further exposing the rift playing out in the Republican Party. Ryan’s office issued a statement Friday saying he planned to meet with Trump next week in Washington, D.C. Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush also have distanced themselves from him.
Closer to home, California Republicans are grappling with questions about their new standard-bearer. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, among the state’s leading Republicans, issued a statement to San Diego TV station NBC 7’s Gene Cubbison concluding, “Mr. Trump has not earned my vote.”
“I am not endorsing Mr. Trump,” said Faulconer, who is seeking re-election on the June 7 ballot. “I reject his divisive rhetoric, including that toward women and Latinos. We need to be building bridges and bringing people together. That’s how we do things in San Diego.”
Jon Fleischman, the conservative blogger, consultant and former state party officials who backed Ted Cruz, said he’ll never find Trump appealing. “Like ever.”
“As a Republican, I will once again be asked to ‘overlook the flaws’ of our nominee and charge into battle against the Democrats,” Fleischman wrote. “That certainly isn’t something I feel like doing today, or really can imagine doing at all.”
Concluded Fleischman: For now I think I will spend some time figuring out where to take my family during a week in July that had been previously blocked out to go to Cleveland. Somewhere tropical … preferably with no television.”