Trump-backed congressman wins Ohio Senate primary

Trump-backed congressman wins Ohio Senate primary
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciBrady at White House meeting: House to vote on more tax cuts in September Election Countdown: Latest on the 2018 Senate money race | Red-state Dems feeling the heat over Kavanaugh | Dem doubts about Warren | Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill | Why Puerto Ricans in Florida could swing Senate race Ohio Senate candidate pledges to serve no more than two terms MORE (R-Ohio), a well-known candidate who was backed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE, is projected to win the GOP primary in a top Senate race.

The Associated Press called the race for Renacci at 9:24 p.m.

The congressman defeated his main opponent, investment banker and GOP donor Mike Gibbons, for the Republican nomination. Renacci will now go on to face Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains On The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal Dems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions MORE in November.

Renacci, who has served in Congress since 2011, was widely expected to win the nomination. He was originally running for Ohio governor until leading Republican Senate hopeful Josh Mandel dropped out of the Senate race. Renacci then switched races, framing his decision as prompted by a call from the White House.

Trump formally endorsed Renacci last month, touting the congressman’s work on tax cuts, border security and crackdown on crime and illegal immigration. On the eve of the primary, Trump recorded a robocall saying that Renacci could defeat Brown in the general election.

While Renacci was poised to win the GOP nomination, he was still forced to defend himself against a slew of negative headlines, including reports that he didn’t properly disclose political donations when he was registered as a lobbyist.

Renacci, one of the richest members in Congress, used some of his own money to boost his Senate bid. Renacci's campaign had announced that he raised more than $4 million in the first three months of the year, but filings with the Federal Election Commission later revealed that the majority of his money came from a personal loan instead of donations.

Republicans view the fight against Brown as a steep uphill battle for the party. Ohio trended red in the 2016 election, with Trump winning the state by 8 points. But the GOP acknowledges that Brown is popular with voters in the state.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP to White House: End summit mystery US to provide additional 0M in defensive aid to Ukraine Senate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit MORE (R-Ohio) hasn’t said whether he’d campaign for the Republican nominee, citing his working relationship with Brown on trade and the fact that he doesn’t yet know about Renacci’s positions.