Growing group of MN Republicans withdrawing support from Trump

House Speaker Kurt Daudt
House Speaker Kurt Daudt
Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune via AP | File photo

Three of Minnesota's top Republicans have withdrawn their support for Donald Trump, after video surfaced of the GOP presidential nominee making vulgar, sexually charged comments about women.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty Saturday called for Trump to abandon his campaign, while 3rd District U.S. Rep. Eric Paulsen said he would not vote for Trump.

"For months I have said Donald Trump has not earned my vote," Paulsen said. "The disgusting statements revealed last night make it clear he cannot. I will not be voting for him."

Erik Paulsen
Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn.
Charles Dharapak | AP file photo

Paulsen is facing a re-election challenge from Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, who has consistently tried to tie Paulsen to Trump and criticized the Republican for sticking with Trump after previous controversial remarks.

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"I'm not calling on Erik Paulsen to disavow Donald Trump because it's too late for that," said Bonoff., "I'm calling on voters to disavow any politician who has not been willing to denounce Donald Trump over the past year despite the wealth of evidence that he is sexist, racist, homophobic, and poses a threat to our national security. For any politician to do so now is way too little and way too late."

Daudt is locked in a campaign in 134 House districts across the state, trying to keep Republicans in the majority in St. Paul.

"Donald Trump's behavior and comments toward women are unacceptable, and disqualifying for someone who hopes to serve as Commander In Chief," Daudt said. "I believe Minnesotans and Americans are looking for strong conservative leadership that can unite our country, but it's clear that Donald Trump cannot and will not provide that leadership and necessary contrast with the far-left vision of Hillary Clinton. I strongly urge his campaign to consider what's best for the future of our country and our party, and step aside so we can defeat Hillary Clinton."

Former Governor Tim Pawlenty
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, President and CEO of Financial Services Roundtable, speaks during a discussion at the Reagan Building October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The discussion, sponsored by Bloomberg Government, focus on the costs and benefits of cyber security.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI | AFP | Getty Images | File photo

As for Pawlenty, the last Republican to be elected statewide in Minnesota, he was clear he had lost patience with Trump as a candidate.

"He is unsound, uninformed, unhinged and unfit to be President of the United States, and I am withdrawing my support for him," Pawlenty said.

Trump's comments were an issue in other races as well, but like Paulsen, other candidates stopped short of saying Trump should abandon his presidential campaign.

Trump's comments about his sexual exploits with women are "clearly wrong, vile and indefensible," wrote Republican candidate Jason Lewis on Twitter. Lewis is running for the open seat in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.

His opponent, Democrat Angie Craig, called on Lewis to join other Republicans who are dropping their support for Donald Trump.

"Enough is enough," said Craig. "The tough talk brand is politically convenient for Jason--he said last year that Trump is 'saying some of these things that nobody else seems to have the guts to say, except me.' If Donald Trump's offensive statements about immigrants, veterans, and people of color weren't enough to make Jason reconsider his praise for Trump, these comments likely won't change his mind. But in the interest of decency, it's time for Jason to finally denounce Trump."

Stewart Mills, the Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional Seat, said Trump needs to "show humility."

Trump, so far, has said he will not quit the race.