Republicans Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez both said they support government-funded safety nets that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney seemed to criticize in secretly videotaped remarks during a private fundraiser held in May.
Heller is locked in a tight race with Democrat Rep. Shelley Berkley in Nevada and became the third Republican Senate candidate to distance himself from Romney.
"I just don't view the world the same way [as Romney] does," Heller told Politico.
In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, Martinez said: "I think, certainly the fact that New Mexico provides that safety net is a good thing."
The Romney campaign has been trying to quell the controversy stemming from leaked video remarks that captured the candidate dismissing Obama supporters and individuals receiving government services.
"There are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it," Romney says in the video.
Recent polling shows Nevada leaning toward Obama in the presidential race, but the Senate seat is a toss-up. Romney aides have counted on the state's large Mormon population and high unemployment rate to win the state's six electoral votes, according to Politico. National Republicans were banking on a Heller victory to net the four seats necessary for a Senate majority, reported the Washington Post.
New Mexico is in the Obama column, according to TPM PollTracker, and Martinez is not facing reelection until 2014.