The Trump trap: Republicans duck president in key House races

On his Twitter and Facebook accounts, Lance has offered no plaudits this year for the president. When he does reference Trump, he’s more likely to note their differences. He’s co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to restrict the president’s power to impose tariffs on imports and to require reunification of immigrant children and parents separated after being caught crossing the southern border. He’s also touted his support for gun control.

Lance says he’s not necessarily trying to distance himself from Trump. “There are areas of agreement, but I also point out the areas of disagreement,” he said in an interview. In a moderately conservative district, he added, his “bipartisan” approach is “consistent with the views of a majority of the constituents.”

Yet Lance’s approach also reflects a broader reality. November’s congressional elections are widely viewed as a referendum on the president, and in the well-heeled, reliably Republican suburbs in North Jersey where Lance is running, there’s not a lot of love for Donald Trump. It’s a challenge faced by Republican candidates in similar districts nationwide who are trying to capture the moderate-to-conservative voters they need to win.