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*-- Report: Republicans in battleground states want Trump to quit race --*

WASHINGTON - As turmoil permeates the Republican Party with nearly three months until election day, GOP nominee Donald Trump is being asked by members of his own party to do something unheard of in American politics -- drop out of the race, unopposed, long before the finish line.

According to a report in POLITICO on Friday, key Republican officials polled in multiple battleground states want the New York businessman to give up his White House bid now, so the GOP has as much time as possible to find a viable replacement.

The report cited data gathered by the POLITICO Caucus -- a panel of activists, strategists and analysts in nearly a dozen swing states -- that claimed 70 percent of party insiders in those states want Trump gone, and the sooner the better.

Claims of such widespread party opposition to Trump follow what are likely two of the most tumultuous weeks in his campaign -- days that saw the outspoken Republican almost universally panned for criticisms he directed at American Muslim military parents who appeared at the Democratic National Convention last month.

"I'd rather take our chances with nearly anyone else than continue with this certain loser who will likely cost the Senate and much more," a New Hampshire Republican told POLITICO's caucus.

"The effect Trump is having on down-ballot races has the potential to be devastating in November," a Florida Republican added. "His negative image among Hispanics, women and independents is something that could be devastating to Republicans."

While there has been no indication whatsoever from Trump that he would seriously consider leaving the race this late, that's apparently not stopping some party members from making known their desire for a new candidate.

Last week, longtime GOP strategist Sally Bradshaw announced she had left the Republican Party to register as an independent -- and that she will vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in Florida if the race is tight. Her main reason for bailing: Donald Trump.

"Donald Trump cannot be elected president," she told CNN last Friday. "As much as I don't want another four years of [President] Obama's policies, I can't look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump."

The GOP nominee received a typically modest boost in support last month following the Republican National Convention. Since the Democrats staged theirs a week later, however, Trump has been in near-free fall. The latest UPI/CVoter poll indicates that Clinton has dramatically expanded her lead over the controversial politician.

Observers and analysts have said Trump is losing ground due to a number of factors, but probably none more than his unflinching campaign rhetoric.

In addition to the criticisms of the military family, Trump has also been condemned in recent days for ordering a crying infant to leave the room at a speech in Virginia, calling for Russian hackers to find emails involving Clinton, refusing to endorse GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan in a Wisconsin primary race, and for reportedly asking an adviser why the United States can't use nuclear weapons against enemies, including those in in Europe.

If Trump did quit the race, the Republican Party would have to vote on a replacement and potentially reconvene the national convention, which was held in Cleveland last month, for that purpose.

It's not likely many people are holding their breath, though. Some critics believe Trump is a very prideful and egotistical politician who would never leave the race on his own accord.

"I also wish I could lose 20 pounds, cut 5 shots off my [golf] handicap and play the piano," one Republican insider told POLITICO. "None of those things will happen, and neither will Trump drop out."

"He is an egomaniac," a Colorado insider said. "There is no chance he would voluntarily exit the race."

"He's not going anywhere. His ego wouldn't allow it," a Virginia respondent echoed.


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