Updated Mar 13, 2018

No Trump Zone: Only two of 23 vulnerable Republicans want him

President Trump recently said he plans to eventually spend four to five days campaigning for Republican candidates ahead of the midterm elections. But the reality is that out of the 23 most vulnerable House Republicans, only two candidates said they would accept Trump's help — and neither were especially eager about it.

Driving the news: Axios called all 23 Republican congressmen and their campaign representatives in districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 (listed above) and asked whether they would want the president to campaign for them in their district.

  • 14 didn't respond, four said they didn't want him, one dodged the question, two had "no comment," one — Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California — said they'd be happy to have Trump's support, and one — Rep. Carlos Curbelo — said he'd accept Trump's support if the president endorsed his bipartisan approach.

The bottom line: The fact that so many congressmen have a hard time answering whether they want a president from their own party to support them in the midterms tells you everything you need to know about Trump's political strength.

What they aren't saying, according to Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former spokesman for President George W. Bush:

"Many candidates want the president to fundraise for them, but will go to great lengths to avoid being seen with him publicly. An ad of Trump gripping and grinning with a Republican congressman could be priceless fodder for Democratic campaign commercials in certain districts."

Conant added that Bush faced a similar problem when he was unpopular in 2006, and 2010 proved the same for Barack Obama.

Here's who went on the record:

  • Tyler Sandberg, campaign manager for Rep. Mike Coffman (R, CO-06): "Coffman has been one of the most outspoken members to split with Trump, so I don’t think it would make sense for him to even come here.”
  • Veronica Vera, communications director for Rep. Peter Roskam (R, IL-06): "We have not requested the president's assistance and we don’t plan on requesting his assistance."
  • Ken Grubbs, press secretary for Rohrabacher: "He’d be happy to have the president campaign for him."
  • Joanna Rodriguez, communications director for Curbelo: "While Carlos has never invited public figures to campaign with him, he has welcomed those who have offered. He has also joined Presidents Obama and Trump in South Florida to stand with them on issues in which ‎he agrees with them ... Anyone who wants to support Carlos' efforts and endorse his bipartisan approach to public service is welcome to do so."

Go deeper

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."