Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020

Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's hurricane forecast controversy won't go away MORE (R-Colo.) is throwing his support behind President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE’s 2020 reelection bid, a move that could stir trouble for his own electoral prospects next year.

Gardner, a onetime critic of Trump, told IJR that he was backing the president, because he believed Trump would do right by the people of Colorado.

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“Look, there are things here – look, I’ve made it very clear that where I agree with the president, we will agree or where I disagree, we will disagree,” Gardner said. “But I’m going to fight like hell for Colorado, and we’ve done some good things for Colorado.”

The endorsement could carry some political risk for Gardner. He’s up for reelection in 2020 in a state that has moved increasingly in Democrats’ favor in recent years.

In the 2018 midterms, Democrat Jason CrowJason CrowOvernight Defense: Trump ousts Bolton in shocker | Fallout, reaction from GOP senators | Senate spending talks in chaos | Dems eye vote to nix Trump border emergency Swing-seat Democrats oppose impeachment, handing Pelosi leverage Second Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment MORE defeated then-Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (R-Colo.) by more than 11 points, flipping a district that Republicans had tried desperately to hold onto.

Likewise, Democrat Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisDemocrats grill BLM chief over plans to move officials out of DC Colorado governor pokes fun at FaceApp Number of openly LGBTQ elected officials rose nearly 25 percent since 2018: report MORE won his race to succeed former Gov. John Hickenlooper, extending the party’s decade-long grip on the governor’s mansion.

Another previous Republican critic of Trump, Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCost for last three government shutdowns estimated at billion The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ohio), also offered his endorsement to the president, telling IJR that he was backing Trump, because he’s already in the White House.

“He’s the incumbent,” Portman said. “I mean, he’s in office, I work with him every day.”

“I disagree with him publicly and privately when appropriate,” he added. “But I also get a lot done, and I get that done with him. So we work with the White House, and I think that’s important for Ohio.”

Unlike Gardner, Portman isn’t up for reelection next year. But the Ohio Republican’s endorsement could potentially give Trump a boost in Ohio, one of the nation’s closest-watched electoral battlegrounds.

Trump carried the state in 2016. But a win there in 2020 is likely to be crucial for Trump if he hopes to get another term in the White House.

Other GOP senators were more reluctant to say whether they would support Trump in 2020, including Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Congress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance MORE (Maine), who is expected to face a tough reelection bid next year.

Collins, who has a reputation as a more moderate Republican, drew Democratic ire in October when she said that she would vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughTrump dismisses NYT explanation on Kavanaugh correction Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs MORE, who faced sexual misconduct allegations stretching back to his high school days.

Asked by IJR whether she would back Trump in 2020, Collins demurred.

“Look, I’m not worried about that right now,” she said. “I’m going to concentrate on 2020 when we get to 2020.”