Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race

Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE is backing Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas Poll: Republican DeWine has 3-point edge over Cordray in Ohio governor's race 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 BlackburnDemocrats hold fading odds of winning Senate this November Cornyn: 'All the money in the world' won't help O'Rourke win Texas Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh 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 CorkerDemocrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist Trump to send Pompeo to meet Saudi king Trump defends 0B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia MORE (R-Tenn.) heaped praise on Bredesen in comments that frustrated Republicans who are looking to defend Corker's seat in the fall.