Trump intervenes in Ohio Senate primary election – for himself

McIntosh, an informal Trump adviser who often talks to the former president about campaigns around the country, responded by saying he would investigate the matter, according to one of the people familiar with the conversation. But the club continued to send the $ 1 million TV purchase – and on Wednesday, the organization escalated the offensive by plowing another $ 500,000 behind the effort.

Trump’s involvement in the race illustrates how he views the 2022 midterm elections: as a tool to strengthen and measure his own political position ahead of a potential bid in 2024. The former president has supported Republican candidates across the country and used their successes to trumpet its popularity in the party. And when he believes he has not received enough credit, he has struck out: After Republican Glenn Youngkins revolted in victory in last month’s Virginia gubernatorial race, the former president steamrolled that he did not get enough recognition.

A Trump spokesman, Taylor Budowich, declined to comment on the conversation between Trump and McIntosh, but said: “President Trump loves Ohio, and you need look no further than his historic 8-point victory in 2020 to know that Ohio loves President Trump “No wonder all the candidates in Ohio have become champions of America First. The strongest ‘Trump’ candidate will definitely win.”

A spokesman for the Growth Club declined to comment.

Following McIntosh’s conversation with Trump, the Club for Growth sent a poll note to the former president’s political team, claiming the ad had no bearing on his position. The memo outlined the results of surveys conducted in four state-wide media markets and compared Trump’s figures before and after the ads were aired. The project found that there was no significant change in Trump’s popularity in any of the four markets.

“The polls … show that the advertisement had no effect on President Trump’s image, as his favorable and unfavorable assessments did not change by more than a single point in any market,” reads a separate club-specific memo obtained by POLITICO, who also claimed that the barrage had taken a heavy toll on Vance.

Vance allies challenged the club’s poll, which showed declining ratings for Vance. And in a statement saying the Club for Growth was “desperate to stop JD” because it does not share the group’s “globalist pro-China trade agenda”, Vance campaign manager Jordan Wiggins noted that the Club for Growth had worked against Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has been in contact with McIntosh since last month’s call, and the anti-Vance ads have not reappeared during their talks, said a person familiar with the talks.

Still, the club is not the only advertiser using Vance’s anti-Trump statements against him. This week began one of his rivals, investment banker Mike Gibbons running commercials targeted at Vance with many of the same lines used on the club’s pitches.

But this is not the first time there have been tensions between the club and the former president or people in his political circle. This summer, Trump advisers blamed McIntosh for encouraging Trump to stand behind a losing candidate in a nationally-monitored special election in Texas.

The relationship between Trump and the anti-tax organization is long and complicated. During the 2016 election, the club spent millions of dollars in a failed attempt to prevent Trump from winning the Republican presidential candidate. But in recent years, the group and its president, McIntosh, have emerged as loyal allies of the former president, targeting his Republican critics and running behind many of the candidates he has supported in the GOP primaries.

In Ohio, however, Trump has not yet supported the Ohio competition, while the club has given its support to former Treasurer Josh Mandel, who is seen as the frontrunner. The primary election has evolved into a Trump loyalty contest: In the spring, the candidates sat down with Trump in an “apprentice-style” board meeting where they auditioned for his support.

Vance, as Trump now says “proved” him “wrong” as president after his first criticism of Trump as a candidate is among those trying to win him ahead of Ohio’s May 3 primary election. In the spring, Vance traveled with his mentor and political benefactor, tech billionaire Peter Thiel, to Mar-a-Lago for a meeting with the former president.

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