© Greg Nash
The Senate's No. 2 Republican suggested Monday that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpChelsea Clinton attends Muslim solidarity rally in NYC Pentagon chief: 'I don’t have any issues with the press' Kasich: The media is 'an important part of democracy' MORE winning the party's presidential nomination could spell trouble down the ticket in November.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynRepublicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties Corker: Senate GOP discussing best path for Russia probe MORE (Texas) told CNN that Republicans "can't have a nominee be an albatross around the down-ballot races. ...That's a concern of mine."
Cornyn's comments come as Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats in November and can only afford to lose a handful and retain control of the upper chamber.
With Trump poised for a strong showing in most of the the 11 states holding their primary elections on Super Tuesday, congressional Republicans are increasingly coming to the grips with the fact that the brash businessman could be their nominee.
Cornyn suggested on Monday that vulnerable blue-state Republicans — who have been wary of tying themselves too closely to Trump — could distance their campaigns from the presidential race.
"It's always important for candidates, in my experience, to be in tune with your state and not necessarily what's happening in Washington," the Texas Republican added in the interview.
While top Republicans have frequently sidestepped directly commenting on the presidential race, The New Times reported Saturday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRepublicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy Americans brimming with optimism on the economy McCain hopes Americans can be confident GOP-controlled Congress can investigate president MORE (R-Ky.) is advising vulnerable incumbents that they can break with Trump if he wins the nomination.
In what was largely seen as a veiled shot at Trump and Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump to interview four candidates for national security adviser Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at CPAC Reports: Petraeus off the list, Trump down to three candidates to replace Flynn MORE (R-Texas), McConnell told reporters late last year that the party needs to nominate someone who can swing states.
“We’d like to have a nominee who can carry purple states because unless the nominee for president can carry purple states, he’s not going to get elected,” he said at the time.