Chris Vance, the likely Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, won't vote for apparent GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Vance, a former state party chairman, said Thursday he'll vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the May 24 primary. Kasich suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday but remains on the Washington ballot. Vance added that he'll either vote for a conservative third party candidate in November if one emerges, or leave the race blank on his general election ballot.
While calling likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Murray part of the "status quo" of gridlock and economic stagnation, Vance added "Donald Trump is not the answer."
The billionaire developer's economic policies would drive the national debt higher and his foreign policy is "naive and dangerous," Vance said.
For months, Vance, who would be classified as a socially moderate fiscally conservative Republican by many, has avoided answering whether he'd support Trump as the nominee. Up until this week, he was able to argue the question was hypothetical. That changed after Tuesday's Indiana primary, which Trump won handily and resulted in Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropping out.
Washington Democrats, who have been demanding Vance address whether he would support Trump, argued the decision wasn't credible. Party spokesman Jamal Raad noted Vance written in a Facebook post last December that Republicans should unite behind the nominee.
Vance is one of six candidates who have filed with the Federal Elections Commission to run against Murray, who is seeking her fifth term in the Senate. But he's the only one listing significant contributions. As of the end of March, Vance reported raising $200,000 compared to $6.7 million for Murray.