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UPDATE: Democrats call out Republicans abandoning Donald Trump

Posted: 12:06 PM, Oct 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-09 23:29:58Z
UPDATE: As Nevada's most prominent Republicans say they can no longer endorse Donald Trump for president, the Democrats are seizing the moment.
 
"Yesterday wasn't the first time that Donald Trump has said something offensive, something disgusting or put down women and minorities," said Kristen Orthman, Senior Advisor for the Nevada State Democratic Party
 
Democrats were already taking aim at Donald Trump, but the final straw for many Republicans came after audio leaked Friday night by the Washington Post.
 
The Republican Presidential nominee was exposed graphically discussing groping women in 2005. One vocal Trump advocate, Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck, denounced his support after the comments.
 
Kristen Orthman said the move is nothing short of political cowardice.
 
"To be okay with months of comments then suddenly not be okay, I am confident that people see through that as someone who is trying to save their political career," Orthman said.
 
Just one month before the election, the latest of Trump's remarks have Republican candidates flailing and Democrats pouncing on the moment.
 
ORIGINAL STORY
 
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- Many prominent Nevada Republicans withdrew their support for Donald Trump's presidential candidacy on Saturday, calling on the embattled nominee to step down.
 
Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck and Congressman Cresent Hardy said today at a campaign rally that they could no longer support Trump after the Washington Post released a video Friday of the Republican presidential nominee graphically discussing groping women in 2005.
 
"I cannot in good conscience continue to support Donald Trump, nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton," said Heck. " My wife, my daughters, my mom, my sister, and all women deserve better."
 
Heck's withdrawal of support comes after months of tenuous support for the billionaire Republican nominee, at times calling his comments toward minority groups unacceptable while still retaining " high hopes " that he'd be elected.
 
Democratic Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto's campaign immediately seized on the announcement, accusing Heck of making a politically-motivated calculation to withdraw support.
 
“For nine months, Joe Heck has been Donald Trump’s strongest supporter in Nevada as Trump has demeaned and disrespected women, made racists comments towards Latinos and showed himself completely unfit to be President," said Cortez Masto. "What you’re seeing now is not leadership, it’s Joe Heck trying to save his career.”
 
Republican Congressman Cresent Hardy also said he's withdrawing his support for Trump, saying the "disrespectful" comments made by the nominee in the 2005 video forced his hand.
 
"I will no longer support the guy at the head of the ticket for the Republican nominee," he said. "And I've said all along that I would, but I will no longer support him because I can't degrade that mother, wife, housewife, whatever you want to deal with to achieve a great America."
 
Hardy's opponent, Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, said in an interview with KTNV that Hardy's withdrawal of support was merely political opportunism and that he should have backed away from the candidate earlier.
 
"After all those bad comments, and racist and sexist comments, that now, he finally chooses to withdraw his endorsement, I think it's a little too late," he said.
 
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval also issued a statement Saturday, saying he could no longer support Trump.
 
"This video exposed not just words, but now an established pattern which I find to be repulsive and unacceptable for a candidate for President of the United States," he said. "I cannot support him as my party's nominee."
 
Republican Senator Dean Heller said he's 99 percent certain that he won't vote for Trump, and agreed with everything Heck and Hardy had to say while suggesting that the Republican party should try to find a replacement for Trump.
 
Nevada's Republican Lieutenant Governor, Mark Hutchison, also told 13 Action News that he can no longer support Trump following the release of the audio.
 
Republican Danny Tarkanian, running in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, said the comments disturbed him but still planned to support Trump.
 
"'I've been clear the reasons why I support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton," he said. "They have to do with the direction and future of our country, and those reasons haven't changed."