US President Donald Trump speaks to officials during a roundtable discussion on community safety, at Mary D. Bradford High School in in Kenosha, Wisconsin on September 1, 2020. – Trump visited Kenosha, the city at the center of a raging US debate over racism, despite pleas to stay away and claims he is dangerously fanning tensions as a reelection ploy.
MANDEL NGAN | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s political action committee bought $348,081 worth of advertising on Tuesday in the Republican congressional primary in Ohio’s 15th District, where a Trump-backed candidate is facing a crowded GOP field.
The large, last-minute ad purchase by the Make America Great Again Action PAC was made the same day that another Trump backed House candidate, Susan Wright, lost in a special election in Texas 6th District.
The purchase suggests the Trump team believes it will take more just than the former president’s endorsement to put former coal lobbyist Mike Carey over the finish line in the Aug. 3 primary.
The winner of next Tuesday’s primary will face a Democrat in November to see who will replace former GOP Rep. Steve Stivers, who left Congress earlier this year. The district leans Republican, making the winner of the primary a favorite to win the seat in November.
Trump has recorded a robocall for Carey and he had the former lobbyist up on stage with him at a Trump rally in Ohio in June.
On Tuesday, the same day the ads were purchased, Trump sent an email doubling down on his support for Carey, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
The Ohio primary has seen big dollars spent on several candidates, including $220,000 in opposition ads against Carey, paid for by a group called the Conservative Outsiders PAC.
For Trump, this race is about much more than Ohio politics.
The former president has staked his entire political brand, and his nascent aspirations to run for president again in 2024, on his status as a kingmaker in the Republican party.
A second loss for a Trump-backed candidate in as many weeks could put a serious dent in Trump’s aura of invincibility among the party faithful.
A January statement from Save America, another Trump political committee, captures how the president’s political operation views the power of his endorsement.
“President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time,” the group said.
Trump headlined a fundraiser in Dallas earlier this month to raise money for the Make America Great Again Action PAC.