Josh Mandel speaks of former President Trump in the same breath as God in his application for the U.S. Senate.
This week, the former state treasurer sent supporters an email with the subject: “First of all, Trump, first of all God, first of all America.”
“My question is simple: can I count on you to get candidates in Washington who will put Trump’s agenda first, put God first, and put America first?” Mr Mandel said in an email.
Mr. Mandel is one of a herd of Republican candidates running in primary races across the country seeking to demonstrate his loyalty to Mr. Trump and his MAGA movement.
Shannon Burns, president of the Strongsville Republican Party, said the candidates acknowledged that Mr. Trump’s style and message were echoed by a wide range of voters, including those who felt alienated from the political system.
“Everyone sees this as loyalty to Trump, and perhaps in a simplistic way you might think of it that way, but what happened in a state like Ohio that used to be blue or purple and now deep red is that that President Trump has aroused in voters what these candidates are trying to engage in, ”Mr Burns said.
“You had all these people who realized what was wrong with America and finally believed that there was someone who could fix it,” he said. “These candidates want others to believe in them, as voters believed in Trump.”
Mr. Trump demonstrated his solid power over the Republican Party last weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, where he became the biggest draw and won the presidential poll.
Mr. Trump received 97% approval from CPAC members and scored 59% of the vote. Second place, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, scored 28%.
Republican candidates rushed to themselves in hopes of gaining Mr. Trump’s approval and taking advantage of his stellar power.
Mr Trump’s decision not to run – including Ohio and Missouri – has exacerbated the struggle between the candidates to claim the Trump mantle.
Campaign websites and emails are littered with photos of candidates standing shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Trump. The candidates boast of donations they have received from Trump’s top donors, underscoring the approval of members of Congress from Trump supporters, and claim to have been among the first to jump on Trump’s train in 2016.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Ohio, where the contest to replace Republican Senator Rob Portman, who is resigning, seems at times mostly about getting Mr. Trump’s attention and trying to direct his spirits to his companies.
Jane Timken, a former chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, announced Tuesday that she has the support of Trump’s alumni: Cory Lewandowski and Dave Bossi.
J.D. Vance campaigned with Marjorie MP Taylor Green, an extreme right-wing firefighter from Georgia who supported his bid and is one of Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill.
Meanwhile, businessman Mike Gibbons announced last month that former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien had joined his campaign.
“Mike Gibbons has momentum in the Ohio Senate race and is committed to the“ America First ”agenda and the MAGA movement,” Mr Stephen said in a statement.
An exception to the Senate race rules from the Ohio Republican Party is State Senator Matt Dolan. He focused his message on the failures of the Biden administration.
Another story in Missouri, where the race to replace Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is retiring, has attracted a number of Trump-inspired candidates.
Eric Grittens, a former governor who resigned amid a sex scandal, favored Mr Trump’s stolen claims in the election and reiterated Mr Trump’s calls to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as leader of the House Republican Party.
“I was the first person in the country to say that when I am in the Senate, I will vote for the new leadership,” Mr Grittens said in a letter posted on his Twitter account. “No more RINO. I’m not voting for Mitch McConnell. “
Mr Greytons also advertised support for Kimberly Guilfoil, the alleged secret fiancé of Donald Trump Jr. He also has the support of Trump’s lawyer and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s former national security adviser at the White House Michael Flynn.
On his campaign website, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt says he “defended President Trump at every turn and fought for justice for the people of Missouri against the radical left, big technology and even the Chinese Communist Party.”
Representative Vicki Harzler posted on her campaign website a photo in which Mr. Trump stands with her and raises his thumb on Air Force One.
Representative Billy Long’s campaign website also features a photo in which he raises his thumb up along with Mr. Trump in Air Force One. Mr. Long’s campaign website also has a video advertising Trump’s tweet praising him for “full” support for our “America First!”
“We need to stop the madness of destroying what President Trump has done great,” Mr. Long said next to a video of a locomotive with a photo of Mr. Trump and Mr. Long superimposed on it. “I was on Trump training early and never came out.”