'Horrified' Republicans beg Trump to stop bashing mail-in voting as Democrats take 'astronomical' early lead
Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell (Screen Capture)

Top Republican officials are "horrified" by the early returns of Democratic mail-in ballots.

Democratic voters are requesting and returning mail-in ballots at a far higher rate than Republican voters so far in key battleground states, which could make it impossible for the GOP to hold on to the White House and their Senate majority, reported the Washington Post.

“It’s astronomical,” said one Republican strategist who's working on Senate races. “You see these numbers in a state like North Carolina, and how can you not be concerned?”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has met twice with President Donald Trump to urge him to stop bashing mail-in voting because he's concerned those attacks will discourage Republican voters from participating, and former Republican National Committee chairman and one-time White House chief of staff Reince Priebus has warned that gap could cost the GOP.

“I’ve seen these appeals to likely Republican voters — ‘Please apply for your absentee ballot,’" said GOP pollster Whit Ayres. "But it’s at the same time those voters are hearing from their president that mail voting is ripe with fraud."

More than 9 million voters have requested mail ballots in Florida, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina and Pennsylvania -- the five battleground states where that data is available -- and 52 percent of those were Democrats, while only 28 percent were Republicans and 20 percent were unaffiliated.

Internal data from both parties showed similar trends in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin.