Ayotte on Trump: 'I’ll support the Republican nominee'
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Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteKey endorsements: A who's who in early states Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race New Hampshire senator to ask 2020 Dems to back repeal of state residency law MORE (R-N.H.) said she’ll ultimately support Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE if he wins the presidential nomination despite his controversial plan to ban Muslims from entering the country. 

“Well, at this point, we’re going to let the people of New Hampshire sort this out,” Ayotte said, according to New Hampshire Public Radio. “I’ll support the Republican nominee.” 


Trump sparked a firestorm after calling Monday for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims coming to America until elected leaders can “figure out what’s going on.” Ayotte, along with many Republican leaders and GOP presidential hopefuls, disagreed with the real estate mogul. 

“I do not believe that there should be a religious test in terms of how we decide who’s coming to our country,” Ayotte said. “There needs to be a factual, risk-based assessment. We’ve not had a religious test for this and that certainly seems inconsistent with the First Amendment to me.” 

Ayotte, a vulnerable Republican incumbent, will face Democratic New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan. A RealClearPolitics average of New Hampshire polls shows Ayotte leading Hassan, 46.8 percent to 43 percent and a poll earlier this week had them tied. Democrats need to net five seats in order to regain majority control of the Senate. But Democrats only need to defend 10 seats next year, compared to Republicans' 24. 

She's not the first Republican Senate incumbent questioned about their support for Trump's plan. On Tuesday, a long-shot candidate for Senate in Ohio called on Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump MORE (R) to reverse his pledge to support Trump if he wins the GOP nomination. 

The Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday reported Portman's opposition to Trump's proposal, but the senator said he still intends to support the eventual Republican nominee. He added, however, "I don't think Trump will be our nominee."