Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race
President Trump is backing Rep. Jim Renacci’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.
.@JimRenacci 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2018
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 Brown (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 Blackburn, 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 Corker (R-Tenn.) heaped praise on Bredesen in comments that frustrated Republicans who are looking to defend Corker’s seat in the fall.
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