Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race

Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE is backing Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms Dustbin 2020: The best Dems who surely won’t get the nomination Vocational training should be a priority MORE's (R-Ohio) bid for Senate, the latest example of the president wading into key Senate races.

Trump tweeted his endorsement on Tuesday, the first time he's officially waded into the Ohio Senate primary. 
 
"[Renacci] has worked so hard on tax reductions, illegal immigration, the border and crime. I need Jim very badly to help our agenda and to keep making America great again! He will be a fantastic senator for the great state of Ohio, and has my full endorsement!" he said. 
 
 
 
Renacci jumped into the race earlier this year after Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, the front-runner, dropped out, citing his wife's health.
 
At the time, Renacci framed his decision to run for Senate and abandon his gubernatorial bid as responding to a call from the White House. Renacci met with Trump's political team in the days before his announcement. 
 
"When the president and the adminsitration calls you to action, it was a pretty compelling moment for me," he said in January on AM 1420 The Answer in Cleveland. 
 
Renacci is running against Mike Gibbons, a businessman who has sought to frame himself as a conservative outsider in Trump's mold.
 
While the congressman is considered the front-runner, Renacci has been forced to defend himself against stories claiming he didn't properly disclose political donations during his time as a lobbyist. And despite announcing a strong $4.5 million first quarter fundraising haul to start 2018, federal filings later showed that the vast majority of that sum came from a personal loan instead of donations from supporters. 
 
 
Tuesday's endorsement comes just days after Trump publicly backed another key lawmaker who is important to keeping the GOP's Senate majority. Last week, he tweeted his support for Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnElection Countdown: Takeaways from too-close-to-call Ohio special election | Trump endorsements cement power but come with risks | GOP leader's race now rated as 'toss-up' | Record numbers of women nominated | Latino candidates get prominent role in 2020 Top Koch official fires back at critics: We are not an 'appendage' of the GOP The Hill's Morning Report: Trump tries to rescue Ohio House seat as GOP midterm fears grow MORE, the Tennessee Republican who is running for the open Senate seat in the state against former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D). 
 
The day before Trump's endorsement, retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP senator reviving effort to rein in Trump on tariffs Trump draws bipartisan fire over Brennan GOP leaders: No talk of inviting Russia delegation to Capitol MORE (R-Tenn.) heaped praise on Bredesen in comments that frustrated Republicans who are looking to defend Corker's seat in the fall.