The Trump Effect for Down-Ballot Republicans in Texas

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's hyperbole to say November's Harris County election ballot is as thick as a phone book, but it is packed with races other than the one for president. They're called down-ballot races and they're the ones that might have Republicans here in Harris County and across the nation concerned, given the candidate at the top.

On Tuesday Donald Trump visited Texas to raise money in both Dallas and San Antonio. Eyewitness News decided to check with GOP leaders in the nation's largest Republican county and look at what impact, if any, the embattled nominee is having on the races that hit most closely to home.

"Our focus in Harris County is always electing our local officials," said the county's GOP chair, Paul Simpson. "Local officials have a bigger impact on your day to day life than anybody in Washington does."

Trump, without a doubt, has die-hard supporters across the country. The most recent polling shows him within striking distance of Hillary Clinton. But his recent comments about women hasn't endeared him to his party leaders or those who've endorsed him, even though most are sticking with him.

"I am supporting the Republican nominee because I think Hillary Clinton is an absolute disaster," Senator Ted Cruz told MuleshoeTV during a stop in west Texas on Monday.

Senator John Cornyn is also supporting the nominee, even though he condemned Trump's recently revealed comments about aggressively pursuing women. He also said that Democrats, who held press conferences near both of Trump's Texas stops Tuesday, may not have it any easier.

"I'm disappointed at the race to the bottom that this presidential race has become," said Cornyn during a stop in Houston. "It's not exactly inspiring to voters to come vote. I think we'll just have to see. This is a unique circumstance that I've never seen before."

That doesn't stop the push, however, to get people to the polls on election day.

"All of us are working arm in arm to elect Republicans to every office in Harris County," said west Houston Republican congressman, John Culberson.

"We're also doing individual engagement son social media," added Harris County Clerk Chris Daniel. "Making sure to take advantage of the viral that can happen in social media to make sure that everybody, at least, is aware of these down ballot races and how important they are from the top of the ticket to the bottom."
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