Politics

GOP Senate Hopefuls in House Nominate Trump for Nobel Peace Prize

Move comes ahead of key primary battles in Indiana, West Virginia

Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., is among the House Republicans who’ve nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five incumbent House Republicans running for Senate have co-signed a letter nominating President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s a move that could curry favor with the president and his supporters just a week before pivotal primaries in states such as West Virginia and Indiana, two Trump states where GOP candidates are trying to align themselves with the White House.

A total of 18 House members, all Republicans, signed the nomination letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citing the president’s work to “end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula, and bring peace to the region.”

Rep. Luke Messer, who is locked in a contentious three-way primary battle with fellow Rep. Todd Rokita and businessman Mike Braun for the GOP Senate nod in Indiana, led the charge for Trump’s nomination.

“The President’s strong leadership is the only reason North Korea is now coming to the table and he deserves recognition for this unprecedented progress toward peace,” Messer said in a statement Wednesday. “This is more progress in North Korea than we saw during the entire Obama administration.”

Other Senate hopefuls who co-signed Messer’s nomination letter were Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, James B. Renacci of Ohio, Evan Jenkins of West Virginia and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

Like Messer, Jenkins also faces two tough — and deep-pocketed — primary opponents, with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship both outraising him.

The Indiana and West Virginia primaries are next Tuesday, May 8.

The winners would face two vulnerable Democratic incumbents: Joe Manchin III in West Virginia and Joe Donnelly in Indiana.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates both races Toss-ups.

Renacci is favored to win his primary in Ohio on May 8 to take on Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown. The race is rated Leans Democratic.

Blackburn and Cramer are also favored to advance to the general election as the Republican nominees in their states. Another letter signee, Tennessee Rep. Diane Black, is running for governor.

Watch: Here’s How Three Ratings Changes Could Help Democrats in Their Quest For Senate Majority

Momentum for Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize has increased in recent weeks as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to meet with him to discuss international security. Those talks will likely take place — if they take place — sometime in June, Trump has said.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker applauded the president for bringing China into the international fold to economically pressure North Korea to enter into negotiations predicated on dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

“My gosh, yes,” the Tennessee Republican told CNBC on Wednesday, when asked whether Trump would be deserving of the prize if tensions with North Korea and its nuclear program are defused.

South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in deflected praise for his historic summit with Kim in South Korea last week by saying, “It’s President Trump who should receive the Nobel Prize.”

Moon and Kim agreed to work toward denuclearization and forging a permanent peace deal on the Korean peninsula.

Four U.S. presidents have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Barrack Obama, in 2009, was the latest to receive it for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation,” the Nobel Committee said at the time.

Other presidential laureates include Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter.

The 18 members who signed the letter are:

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