Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at the Stranahan Theater in Toledo, Ohio on September 21, 2016.
WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump's Political Action Committee bought $ 348,081 worth of advertising in the Ohio 15th District Republican Congressional area code, where a Trump-backed candidate faces a crowded GOP field.
The Make America Great Again Action PAC's big last-minute ad purchase was made on Tuesday, the same day that another Trump-backed House candidate, Susan Wright, lost in a special election in the 6th Congressional District of Texas.
The purchase suggests the Trump team believes it will take more than former president approval to get former coal lobbyist Mike Carey to cross the finish line in next week's primary.
The winner of Tuesday's vote will face a Democrat in November to see who will replace former GOP MP Steve Stivers, who left Congress earlier this year. The district leans on Republican, making the primary winner a favorite for the seat.
Trump recorded a robocall for Carey and brought the former lobbyist on stage at a Trump rally in Ohio in June.
On Tuesday, the same day the ads were purchased, Trump sent an email doubling his support for Carey, Columbus Dispatch reported.
In the Ohio primary, large dollars were spent on several candidates, including $ 220,000 on opposition advertisements against Carey paid for by a group called the Conservative Outsiders PAC.
For Trump, this race is about much more than Ohio politics.
The former president has put all of his political branding and his nascent desire to run for president again in 2024 on his status as Kingmaker in the Republican Party.
A second defeat for a Trump-backed candidate in as many weeks could seriously undermine Trump's aura of invincibility among party believers.
A January statement by Save America, another of Trump's political committee, shows how the president's political operation assesses the power of his support.
"President Trump's popularity has never been as strong as it is today, and his support means more than perhaps any support at any point in time," the group said.
Trump ran a fundraiser in Dallas earlier this month to raise money for Make America Great Again.