RENO, Nev. — Mike Pence showed no indication Thursday of distancing himself from Donald Trump despite his running mate's directly calling Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman" and setting up an Election Night in which the GOP ticket would refuse to concede if it loses.
Instead, the vice presidential candidate, who has further solidified himself as Trump's unflinching ally since joining the ticket in July, told a Nevada crowd that Trump is "still standing stronger than ever before."
In recent days, Pence had insisted that the ticket would "absolutely accept the results of the election."
But on Thursday, Trump refuted that assertion.
"I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win," Trump told a crowd of supporters in Ohio earlier in the day.
Trump added: "I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result."
Despite just 24 hours earlier seemingly having rejected the notion of a contested election, Pence on Thursday echoed Trump's statement that he had the right to "contest" outcomes.
"As Donald Trump said earlier today in Ohio, of course we will accept a clear election result, but we also reserve the right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of questionable results," Pence said. "We will follow and abide by the rules and traditions of many candidates who have gone before to uphold the integrity of the vote."
Numerous Republican lawmakers and state officials who oversee state elections have rejected Trump's pushing the idea of a tainted election.
But Pence said, "Voter fraud is real in pockets and places around the country."
And instead of encouraging the crowd to volunteer for the campaign or the Republican Party, Pence encouraged those to "pariticpate in the electoral process" in "ensuring the integrity of the vote in all the various ways that we can."
Pence told the crowd to look at his own state Indiana, where he's the governor and where state police are investigating changes to voter registration records.
Trump's running mate attended the final presidential debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday night as the duo prepared to head into the final 19 days of the campaign — one in which they are trailing in polls by 11 percentage points nationally and struggling in must-win battleground states.
Yet despite the release of publication of a 2005 video in which Trump is caught making crude comments about women, allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump and his flurry of controversial remarks, Pence has diligently sided with his running mate.
Asked after Wednesday night's debate about Trump's calling Clinton a "nasty woman," Pence told NBC News that it was the consequence of a "pretty rough and tumble debate" with "tough language."
And Thursday, he told supporters in Reno: "Donald Trump — third time around — won the debate against Hillary Clinton hands down."