Donald Trump has endorsed North Carolina Rep. Renee Elmers in her reelection bid, which has led to worries from conservatives about Trump's views, according to the Washington Times
Ellmers is a Republican, but she does not share Trump's opinions on immigration — she has supported legalizing illegal immigrants and voted against Republican efforts to stop President Barack Obama's deportation amnesty, according to the Times report.
Trump made a robocall message to endorse Ellmers, saying, "I need her help in Washington, so we can work together to defeat ISIS, secure our border, bring back jobs, and frankly, so many other things."
"Donald Trump has just stepped on the wrong side of the immigration, debate," said William Gheen, the president of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.
He added that "true base conservatives" oppose Ellmers.
"To see Trump weigh in on the wrong side — this is almost a case of friendly fire or collateral damage," Gheen said. "He has dropped his bombs on the wrong people in North Carolina."
Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said Trump supporting an embattled congresswoman might make him look better to female voters.
"Right now he needs to get as many friends on board as possible, even ones he may disagree with," O'Connell told the Times.
Ellmers is said to be facing a difficult battle for reelection against Rep. George Holding. She won election to her office in 2010 as part of the tea party movement, but now the tea party has turned against her, according to NPR
NPR reported that one reason Ellmers may be under fire is that she objected to a 20-week abortion ban that was a top priority for congressional Republicans.
Ellmers told NPR that she realizes the movement can raise funds more successfully if they have someone to rally voters against.
"In order to raise money, you have to have a villain," she said.
Americans for Prosperity, the PAC backed by conservative financiers, the Koch brothers, told NPR that the attacks on Ellmers are designed to show other Republicans what happens if they break from the party message.
"This is also a warning shot for Washington," the PAC's state director Donald Bryson said.
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