At least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support Sen. John McCain for president, and more than a dozen others declined to answer whether they back the Arizona senator.
Many of the recalcitrant GOP members declined to detail their reasons for withholding support, but Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.) expressed major concerns about McCain's energy policies and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) cited the Iraq war.
A handful of other Republicans on Capitol Hill made the distinction between "endorsing" and "supporting," adding that while they have not endorsed, they do support McCain.
In recent weeks, much of the discussion and debate about party unity has been on the Democrats' side, amid their protracted presidential primary. Yet achieving harmony is a concern on both sides of the aisle this year.
It is not unusual for certain factions of the Democratic and Republican parties not to embrace their respective candidates for president. McCain's campaign seized on some Democrats' reticence about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), issuing a release on Tuesday that highlighted that Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) is not endorsing the presumptive nominee. While some conservative Democrats have yet to endorse Obama and didn't back Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004, there are both centrist and conservative Republicans representing various parts of the country who are not embracing McCain.
Republican members who have not endorsed or publicly backed McCain include Sens. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Reps. Jones, Peterson, John Doolittle (Calif.), Randy Forbes (Va.), Wayne Gilchrest (Md.), Virgil Goode (Va.), Tim Murphy (Pa.), Ron Paul (Texas), Ted Poe (Texas), Todd Tiahrt (Kan.), Dave Weldon (Fla.) and Frank Wolf (Va.).
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