Democrats race to link GOP incumbents to Trump
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Senate Democratic hopefuls are racing to link their opponents to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE as he becomes the last man standing in the race for the GOP nomination.

Democrats quickly pounced Wednesday as Trump locked down his status as the presumptive presidential nominee after winning the Indiana primary, forcing Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate CNN ripped for hiring former Republican operative as political editor: 'WTF?!?!' The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? MORE (R-Texas) and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend their campaigns.  

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David Bergstein, a spokesman for former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, said Trump at the top of the GOP ticket is an "election nightmare" for Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTexas senator introduces bill to produce coin honoring Bushes GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Steel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs MORE (R-Ohio), who Strickland is trying to unseat. 
 
"With the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, there will be no rock that Portman can hide under to avoid his Party's toxic nominee," he added.
 
Portman, who supported Kasich, has said he would ultimately support whoever wins the nomination. Like other vulnerable GOP incumbents he's adamant he'll be able localize his election despite Trump's ability to dominate a media cycle.
 
Democrats, however, warn that Republicans can't outrun Trump's shadow.
 
The businessman has high disapproval ratings with the national electorate. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult "50 State Snapshot" had Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Harris adds key Clinton aide, women of color to 2020 campaign: report Democrats more likely Trump's foil, than to foil Trump MORE getting 328 electoral votes to Trump's 210 in a hypothetical match-up. It takes 270 to win the presidency.
 
GOP Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteUS, allies must stand in united opposition to Iran’s bad behavior American military superiority will fade without bold national action Five possible successors to Mattis MORE (R-N.H.) also quickly came under fire after her campaign said Wednesday that she would support the nominee but wasn't endorsing anyone. 
 
Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's campaign blasted out an email titled "huh?" that included tweets from reporters questioning the distinction between "supporting" and "endorsing" a candidate. 
 
Portman and Ayotte are at the center of the fight for the Senate. Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats in November, including a handful in state's previously carried by President Obama.
 
Brian Reisinger, a spokesman for Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority GOP senator voices concern about Trump order, hasn't decided whether he'll back it MORE's campaign, said Wednesday that he'll support the nominee but "is focused on the concerns of Wisconsinites — not national political winds."
 
Republicans have tried to navigate a precarious path on Trump. While they've aimed to create space from the presidential race, they also can't afford to completely cut ties with the real estate mogul or his supporters. 
  
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Republicans will have to "explain their own out-of-touch records while running alongside Trump ... who has now taken over their party."
 
Democrats are optimistic that Trump as the nominee will ultimately help drag down GOP Senate candidates, particularly in swing states where they'll need to win over independent voters and moderates. To win back control of the Senate, Democrats need to flip four seats if the White House is won by a Democrat, or five seats if a Republican wins the presidency.
 
Katie McGinty, the Democratic challenger in Pennsylvania, is showing no signs of changing her strategy, even though Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said linking him to Trump is "outrageous."
 
"The Trump-Toomey ticket is official tonight. Toomey has pledged to support Trump as GOP nominee despite his hateful rhetoric," she tweeted on Tuesday evening.
   
Democratic Senate campaigns in Arizona, Illinois and Nevada also blasted out emails Wednesday. They highlighted pledges from GOP Sens. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThe global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill MORE (Ill.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (Ariz.) and Rep. Joe Heck (Nev.) — who is running to succeed Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSanders hires veteran progressive operative to manage 2020 bid Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Klobuchar: 'I don't remember' conversation with Reid over alleged staff mistreatment MORE (D-Nev.) — to support the party's nominee.
 
"Donald Trump at the top of the ticket means McCain is more vulnerable than ever," Rep. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickGOP compares Ocasio-Cortez to Trump Hispanic Caucus sets red lines on DHS spending bill Dem women rally behind Pelosi MORE's campaign wrote in a fundraising email after Trump's Indiana win. 
 
Republicans have been preparing for months for the potential that Trump would ultimately win the nomination, arguing vulnerable incumbents should focus on local issues.
 
While Democrats need to pick up a handful of seats to win back the Senate, they hope Trump will be an albatross to the GOP even in state's considered safe Republican seats. 
 
 
Eldridge doubled down Wednesday, saying Boozman should be forced to say if he still supports Trump.
 
"It’s the easiest softball he will get all election season: Do you still support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee after witnessing his reprehensible treatment of women?" he said in a statement. 
 
—Lisa Hagen contributed.