WASHINGTON — Democrats trying to retake the House and Senate see new opportunity from the tape of Donald Trump talking about women in crude, predatory terms. The footage has already prompted ads in at least four House races as well as the hard-fought New Hampshire Senate contest, and may be giving new life to Democratic efforts to tie Republican candidates to the GOP presidential nominee.
Such efforts have had mixed results so far, and it remains to be seen how much the new audio and video tape of Trump talking about groping and kissing women will change that. Several GOP Senate candidates in top-tier races, including New Hampshire, announced over the weekend they were pulling support from Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan declared Monday that he will not campaign for or defend the nominee, giving House Republicans permission to dump him.
But officials in both parties say they will not know the extent of the damage to Trump, or the impact on down-ballot races, until polling results filter in later this week and next.
For now, though, the reaction is optimism on the part of Democrats, and concern from Republicans.