The Senate's No. 2 Republican suggested Monday that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDem immigration platform courts Hispanics Dem platform draft adopts Sanders proposal on taxing foreign earnings Dem draft platform a full repudiation of Trump MORE winning the party's presidential nomination could spell trouble down the ticket in November.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's 12:30 Report House to vote on NRA-backed gun measure Attorney general says she will defer to FBI on Clinton emails 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 McConnellCongress fails on promises to restore regular order and stop funding by crisis Overnight Healthcare: Dems dig in over Zika funding Business groups ramp up pressure to fill Ex-Im board 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 CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump hires Florida chief strategist, new pollster Lynch pressured to recuse herself after Clinton tarmac meeting 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.