Democrats running for governor are pitching themselves as more red state than blue-tinged — even distancing themselves from party standard bearer Hillary Clinton out of fear of a "toxic" effect, Politico reports.
In Indiana, Missouri, Montana and West Virginia, Democratic candidates are taking conservative positions to bulk up their thinning ranks that stand at 18 Democratic governors, down from 29 in 2009, Politico reports.
"In governors' races, close ties with Hillary is proving to be more toxic than ties to [Donald] Trump," Republican Governors Association spokesman Jon Thompson tells the outlet.
The strategy is playing out in West Virginia.
"I cannot be a supporter of Hillary Clinton," Democrat oil billionaire Jim Justice and candidate for governor of West Virginia declared Monday, citing her anti-coal policies.
But Politico also notes that in Missouri, the Democrats' nominee to replace Gov. Jay Nixon is Attorney General Chris Koster, a Republican-turned-Democrat who touts his experience and "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and an endorsement from the Missouri Farm Bureau.
And in Indiana, Democrat John Gregg's campaign lauds his rural upbringing and education.
"They're running for president; I'm running for governor," Gregg proclaims in a campaign ad. "My opponent seems a little confused about that."
Meanwhile, in Montana, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has built his re-election campaign around public land and water access.
Though the conservative Democrat may be an oddity in 2016, "they are about to become a major focus for the party once again," Politico writes.
Strategists are already anticipating a midterm backlash against a President Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in 2018, when Democratic senators are up for re-election in many of the same states — including Indiana, Missouri, Montana and West Virginia – and North Dakota as well.
"Next cycle, it'll be the opposite" of 2016's blue state-focused politics, said Democratic Governors Association political director Corey Platt, a veteran of Missouri politics.
"It could be about trying to stop Hillary Clinton's agenda."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.