Republicans in Minnesota are among those across the country denouncing Donald Trump’s remarks about women captured on a hot mic in 2005, or even calling for him to leave the presidential race.
"I strongly urge his campaign to consider what's best for the future of our country and our party, and step aside so that we can defeat Hillary Clinton,” said House Speaker Kurt Daudt.
Experts said Trump stepping aside would likely be the only way he could be replaced as the Republican nominee for President, under Rule 9 of the Republican National Committee.
“It doesn't look like there's any room in that rule that would allow them on their own to simply vote him out and replace him with somebody else,” said David Schultz, Professor of Political Science at Hamline University.
Even if Trump is replaced by someone else on the ballot, there’s still the issue of thousands of ballots already cast in the election. Minnesota dealt with the issue after the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, just days before the 2002 General Election. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled those who had voted absentee in Minnesota could request new ballots, Schultz said.
“I could see this being a potentially very contentious, legally contentious battle, across 50 states. Because not every state has confronted this problem like we have in Minnesota, and we've worked out some of the law in terms of handling these problems,” Schultz said.
Rep. Erik Paulsen, and Congressional candidates Jason Lewis and Stewart Mills are also among the Republicans in Minnesota who have condemned Trump’s remarks. All are in tight campaign.
Schultz said the reaction from many Minnesota Republicans to Trump, could indicated worries about how Trump’s presence on the ballot could affect races for state legislature and Congress.
"I think we've seen them sort of tip-toe around the edges in terms of their support of their presidential candidate to start with, this just makes it even more difficult,” he said.
Schultz said it’s possible for Trump to turn around his campaign, but he needs an extremely strong performance in Sunday night’s debate.