Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race

Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race
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President TrumpDonald TrumpClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  Why not a Manchin-DeSantis ticket for 2024? MORE is backing Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciOhio Democrats announce gubernatorial running mates On The Trail: Trump-inspired challengers target GOP governors Trump seeking to oust Republican Alabama governor over canceled rally: report 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. 
The winner of the May primary will take on Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices Biden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board Sinema, Manchin curb Biden's agenda MORE (D-Ohio) in a race that will be difficult for the GOP even though Trump won Ohio handily in 2016. 
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 BlackburnSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head CNN legal analyst knocks GOP senator over remark on Biden nominee Senate GOP introduces resolution to nix Biden health worker vaccine mandate 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 CorkerRepublicans, ideology, and demise of the state and local tax deduction Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force MORE (R-Tenn.) heaped praise on Bredesen in comments that frustrated Republicans who are looking to defend Corker's seat in the fall.