Republicans in Tight Races Hit Opponents on Clinton Emails

GOP candidates try to turn tables on Democrats and their presidential nominee

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte released an ad tying her Democratic opponent, Gov. Maggie Hassan, to the Hillary Clinton email scandal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just days after Democrats were tying Republican candidates to Donald Trump’s hot mic moment, Republicans in contested races are seizing FBI Director James B. Comey’s revelation about possible new evidence in the Hillary Clinton email investigation to attack their Democratic opponents.

Comey announced last Friday the discovery of emails pertaining to the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of State. He has since been pummeled by Democrats, concerned that his unusual move could influence the election.

But Republican candidates saw an opportunity to tie their opponents to their party’s presidential nominee and move the needle in their races, just as Democrats had done with Trump just days before.

Rep. Joe Heck, who is in a tight race for Senate in Nevada, hit his Democratic opponent, former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, for maintaining her support for Clinton in light of the former secretary of State’s “reckless behavior.”

Similarly, in New Hampshire, Sen. Kelly Ayotte released an ad tying her Democratic opponent, Gov. Maggie Hassan, to the email scandal, using footage of Hassan dodging a question on Clinton’s trustworthiness.

In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, who is locked in a tough race with Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold, called for a briefing from Comey no later than Friday, four days before the election.

“Most importantly, if the FBI determines that any additional classified information has been put at risk of exposure to our enemies,” Johnson wrote in a letter to Comey. “It is vital that the intelligence community take all appropriate steps to mitigate the potential damage to our national security.”

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is facing a tossup re-election race against Democrat Katie McGinty, said Clinton is “in a world of hot water.”

“I’m not a member of the FBI but it’s hard for me to imagine they would do this without some pretty compelling evidence,” he said.

A recent poll from Politico and the Morning Consult showed the revelation had minimal effect on Clinton, while a poll from Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll showed support for Clinton slipped.

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