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Donald Trump Comes After DeWine: A Primary of Vengeance

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Trump Fixated On Primarying DeWine at “Hunger Games” Showdown with Ohio GOP Candidates

 While Donald Trump is no longer in the White House, he still has a tight grip on the Republican Party and is setting the stage for a nasty Republican primary against incumbent Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. 

As Trump has already begun to insert himself in GOP primaries, Politico reported yesterday Trump held a secret meeting with potential Ohio Senate candidates in what turned into a “Hunger Games” showdown, with candidates jockeying for Trump’s backing. During the course of the meeting, Trump “appeared to be fixated with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine” and asked the attendees for their opinions on primarying the governor.

While no one has announced their candidacy against DeWine yet, Trump ally Jim Renacci is taking big steps towards a gubernatorial campaign. If Renacci decides to run, DeWine could be in big trouble. Top Republicans say Trump has “all-encompassing power to make-or-break the outcome of primaries.”

DeWine’s predicament isn’t unique. Trump is gearing up to take down Republicans he blames for his election loss, including Republican governors like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Trump also has plans to form a Super PAC to spend big next year, meaning DeWine could be facing a very long and expensive primary.

All this comes as GOP primary fights for the foreseeable future are shaping up to be Trump litmus tests. This is already playing out in places like Virginia, where the GOP gubernatorial frontrunner calls herself “Trump in heels” and the other candidates are spending millions on ads featuring Trump.

“Trump still has an iron grip on Republicans’ base across the country – giving him the power to make or break vulnerable GOP governors like Mike DeWine,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Sam Newton. “With Jim Renacci gearing up for what looks like a campaign, DeWine could be looking at a very long, messy, and expensive primary. Even if DeWine makes it out of the primary, Republicans’ base in Ohio will be badly fractured heading into the general election.”