A meeting President TrumpDonald Trump The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden Tasks Harris At Border; today’s press conference Democrats face questions about agenda Democrats are divided on gun control strategy MORE held with four hopefuls vying for the open seat in the Ohio Senate during a fundraiser at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday night soon turned tense, according to Politico.
Trump was organizing the fundraiser to benefit Max Miller, a candidate he supports in an upcoming Ohio House of Representatives race in hopes of ousting a sitting Republican who backed his impeachment.
But he reportedly took the opportunity to convene a group of candidates seeking to fill the post the senator will vacate. Rob portmanRobert (Rob) Jones Portman Democrats Divided Over Gun Control Strategy Trump Allies Line Up Before Potentially Painful Primary Vivek Murthy Confirmed Surgeon General MORE (R), who is not seeking reelection in 2022.
Before dinner began, according to Politico, Trump met in a back room with former state treasurer Josh Mandel; former state chair of the Republican Party, Jane Timken; technology executive Bernie Moreno; and investment banker Mike Gibbons to discuss the Senate race.
Mandel and Timken have already announced their offers for the seat, while Moreno and Gibbons are expected to join soon.
A source described to Politico that the meeting, which supposedly lasted 15 minutes, was like the “Hunger Games” and a surprise and uncomfortable confrontation for the Senate candidates.
According to sources cited by Politico, the group covered everything from the Trump candidates’ support and opposition to his impeachment, past endorsements and donations, and the first polls in the race.
During the meeting, Trump noted that Timken at one point defended Rep. Anthony GonzalezAnthony González Moderate Democrats warn leaders against meddling in Iowa’s race House Republicans who backed Trump’s impeachment warn Democrats about Iowa’s election challenge The Growth Club addresses critics by Trump Cheney, Anthony González MORE (Ohio), the Republican who supported the impeachment of the former president, according to Politico.
A source close to one of the candidates told The Hill that Trump asked Mandel why he abandoned his planned 2018 campaign against the senator. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownAmbitious House Legislators Seek On The Money Promotions: IRS Chief Says Unemployment Beneficiaries Should Not File Amended Tax Returns | Republican Senator blocks bill to prevent private debt collectors from seizing stimulus checks. Senate Panel Discusses Financial Regulators’ Climate Agenda | Environmental Group and Community Activists Call on EPA to Block Georgia Wood Pellet Plant MORE (D-Ohio). Mandel retired in January of that year, citing the need to spend more time with his family.
Trump mentioned Timken in his subsequent speech endorsing Max Miller, the only Senate candidate to receive a mention.
Sources told Politico that Mandel and Timken appeared to be trying to confront each other at the meeting. The Hill has reached out to representatives of both candidates.
Trump has yet to formally endorse any candidate in the Senate race, though the reported meeting reflects how valuable his endorsement is to ambitious Republicans seeking to win congressional seats.
One potential candidate who was not present at the meeting was Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversMandel gets the nod from the Growth Club in Ohio Senate primaries Republican candidate for Ohio Senate calls on Republican representative to resign by impeachment vote House panel discussed by GameStop frenzy and business apps MORE (R-Ohio), who responded to Politico’s article for retweeting along with a gif of a talk show host Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertColbert Calls Kennedy ‘Idiot’ Over Boulder’s Comments Democrats Plan To Press Republican Party For Obstruction Learn About The Make the Senate Great Again caucus MORE sit and eat popcorn.