As soon as it became clear last week that a Texas congressional candidate backed by Donald Trump would be defeated in a special election, the former president’s allies quickly shifted their attention to Ohio to ward off another embarrassing loss. Make America Great Again, a super PAC chaired by Trump’s former campaign manager, quietly purchased $300,000 in Ohio television advertising.
The buy was intended to provide a late-stage boost to another Trump-backed candidate facing a crowded field of Republicans in a special election on Tuesday. The midsummer race for Ohio’s traditionally Republican 15th Congressional District wouldn’t typically get much national attention. But it’s suddenly becoming a high-stakes test of Trump’s endorsement power, which he has wielded as a cudgel to silence opposition in the GOP.
Low-turnout special elections aren’t perfect measures of Trump’s strength and he remains a powerhouse in GOP politics, revealing over the weekend that his political action committees are sitting on a massive $100 million pile of cash. But a second loss in two weeks could chip away at Trump’s self-proclaimed kingmaker status heading into next year’s midterm elections.