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Pence will fund-raise for Renacci in Perrysburg

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    Vice President Mike Pence, right, was in Ohio in July to campaign for 12th Congressional District Republican candidate Troy Balderson in Newark.

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Vice President Mike Pence will spend time in Perrysburg Township on Tuesday at a private fund-raiser for U.S. Senate hopeful Jim Renacci in a county that supported his Democratic opponent in two prior elections.

The vice president will land in Lucas County in late afternoon after appearing at another fund-raiser in Cincinnati to boost Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine in his bid for governor against Democrat Richard Cordray.

Mr. Pence is making his second Ohio appearance in as many weeks to support GOP candidates. Last month, he attended a rally in Newark for Republican Troy Balderson, who holds a slim lead over Democrat Danny O’Connor in the 12th congressional district special election with more than 8,500 ballots still outstanding. President Trump also visited central Ohio ahead of the special election.

Now three months from the general election the vice president is throwing his weight behind Mr. Renacci, a congressman from Wadsworth, who is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

"I've known Vice President Pence for a while now and consider him a good friend and a great leader,” Mr. Renacci said in a statement. “I'm happy to welcome him to Toledo and thank him for helping our campaign for the Senate.”

Mr. Brown, who is seeking a third term in the Senate, has a significant fund-raising advantage — not uncommon for incumbents. The senator has raised more than $17 million since the beginning of 2017 and spent more than $9 million on his campaign. Mr. Renacci, meanwhile, has raised more than $6 million and spent nearly $2.7 million.

Mr. Renacci’s campaign has not said how many guests are expected or the price of tickets. The fund-raiser is being held at a GOP supporter’s home and is closed to media and the public.

In 2012, Wood County supported Mr. Brown over Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel with 50 percent of the vote in a county that county Democratic Party chairman Mike Zickar described as a swing area that voted for Barack Obama and President Trump.

“In both his previous races [Mr. Brown has] won Wood County,” Mr. Zickar said. “He’s shown up every year, he does his constituent work, he advocates for industry and agriculture. He’s the real deal in terms of what you want for the the Senate.”

Mr. Brown’s campaign dismissed the event as Mr. Renacci needing to be “propped up” by outside special interests and Washington Republicans.

“Sherrod fights for hard-working Ohioans and works with this administration when it's best for Ohio, while Congressman Renacci only looks out for himself,” Mr. Brown’s campaign spokesperson Rachel Petri said.

The vice president will also speak at an event in Cincinnati organized by America First Policies, a group that promotes President Trump’s initiatives. Mr. Pence will discuss the President’s tax cuts before attending the events for Mr. DeWine and Mr. Renacci.

White House visitors are nothing new for a state long courted by Washington. The GOP is hoping the stops serve to energize its base before the midterms.

“Any time either the President or vice president comes to northwest Ohio it certainly charges up our volunteers,” said Lucas County GOP chairman Mark Wagoner, Jr.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio is hosting a demonstration in the Toledo area the same day condemning Mr. Pence for his beliefs about reproductive, LGBTQ, and women’s rights.

Contact Liz Skalka at lskalka@theblade.com, 419-724-6199, or on Twitter @lizskalka.

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