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Why Jason Lewis refuses to abandon the sinking ship that is Donald Trump

Earlier this week Lewis reiterated his loyalty to the GOP ticket, saying, "I'm not willing to turn the White House back to the Clintons. Period."

Earlier this week Lewis reiterated his loyalty to the GOP ticket, saying, "I'm not willing to turn the White House back to the Clintons. Period."

When it comes to backing Donald Trump, Republican congressional candidate Jason Lewis has been a model of consistency. 

"I would gladly support Donald Trump if he's the nominee," said Lewis in February.

This week, while fellow Republicans bailed on Trump, Lewis doubled down in a WCCO radio interview: "I'm not willing to turn the White House back to the Clintons. Period."

Recent reports of Trump groping women and purposely walking in on half-naked Miss USA contestants have spurred loyalists to desert the GOP ticket, including Rep. Eric Paulsen (R-MN).

Yet Lewis, who's locked in a tight race against DFLer Angie Craig to replace retiring Rep. John Kline, Minnesota's Most Reprehensible Congressman (TM), remains a loyal foot soldier.

Which begs the question: Why is Lewis sticking with Trump him when so many others are ditching him?

"He's doing it to drive up conservative voter turnout in the district," explains University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs.

Jacobs points to demographics as rational. The district includes portions of the southern Twin Cities suburbs all the way past Northfield and east to the Wisconsin border. It skews DFL in the metro, but remains a bastion of conservatism as subdivisions yield to countryside.

"Lewis is standing by Trump and trying to distinguish himself to win over the support of the district's white conservative voters," Jacobs adds.

It's an interesting, albeit risky, strategy, according to Hamline University's David Schultz. By playing to the conservative base, Lewis hopes to mobilize supporters while at the same time convince swing voters that he's a better choice than Craig.

"Lewis is relying on the same strategy as Trump," says Schultz. "Get the base all hot and bothered and excited enough that they turn out, and hope the young people and other Democratic voters stay home."

Repeated messages left at Lewis' Burnsville campaign office went unreturned.

Craig spokesperson Mychal Vlatkovich believes Lewis' loyalty will ultimately lead to undoing at the polls.

"The tough talk brand has been politically convenient, and he took advantage of it," says Vlatkovich. "But now, it's caught up with him and he's left standing with a man who bragged about his ability to commit sexual assault."