GOP legislators toe the party line
State, national lawmakers to back Trump in November
State and national legislators representing Barry and Lawrence counties each plan to back presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in November.
State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, said although there are flaws in Trump's candidacy, and all other candidates, he will vote for Trump if he is selected at the upcoming convention.
"Trump was not my first choice, but it looks like it's going to happen," he said. "If Trump or [Hillary] Clinton are the choices for president we are faced with, I will vote for and endorse Trump."
Fitzpatrick initially endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and when Rubio dropped out, he backed Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
"We'll take what we get," Fitzpatrick said of the presumptive nominee. "Having some experience in government would be a plus for Trump. I am impressed by his business pedigree, but business and government experience would make him a better president, and obviously he does not have both of those. But, if he surrounds himself with good people and behaves like a statesman, I think he will make a good president."
State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, said he will support anyone over Clinton.
"I assume Trump will be the Republican nominee, and even though I have some qualms occasionally about how he acts, I will vote for anyone but Hillary," he said.
Nationally, Rep. Billy Long said he is sticking with the Republican party.
"I've said all along that I would support the nominee of the party," he said.
Long cited the long list of leading politicians in the South Carolina presidential primary who endorsed other candidates, only to see Trump sweep the popular vote.
"I don't think a Congressional endorsement means that much," Long said.
Brian Hart, communications director for Sen. Roy Blunt, said Blunt will also support Trump.
"If Donald Trump is the nominee, which seems highly likely at this point, then Senator Blunt will support him," Hart said. "Senator Blunt had said all along that he will support the Republican nominee."
Blunt will, however, skip the GOP National Convention, instead planning to campaign in Missouri.
"The Missouri primary election is within two weeks of the convention (this is unusual) [and Blunt will] be in Missouri at that time," Hart said. "He is not a delegate and generally doesn't go for more than a day or two when he does go. Most folks that go to conventions are there as delegates or for some other role."
On the Democratic side, Sen. Claire McCaskill, was an early decider in the election, endorsing Clinton back in June 2013. She has been an active supporter of the former Secretary of State and First Lady, commonly countering fellow Democratic candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' attacks on Clinton.