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Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel. Photo: Chris Maddaloni / Getty Images

During this weekend’s highly anticipated donor retreat hosted by the Republican National Committee in Palm Beach, Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel was escorted off the premises while his primary opponent, Jane Timken, was allowed to stay, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell Axios.

What we’re hearing: The invitation-only event is taking place at the Four Seasons Resort, and the RNC reserved the entire hotel. While Timken, former Ohio GOP chair, was invited to the event “because she is a major donor” — Mandel was not, so he was asked to leave, according to one of the sources.

  • Despite not having his name on the list, Mandel seized on the opportunity to get some face time with top Republican donors while they all were in one place, one source familiar with his plans told Axios.
  • But when the first event formally kicked off at the hotel Friday night, Mandel and others who did not have credentials were asked to leave.
  • A spokesperson for the RNC declined to comment. Mandel's team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Between the lines: Those attending the retreat not only have access to big donors, but also key party players, including former President Trump.

  • Saturday evening, the group will travel to Mar-a-Lago, where Trump is expected to deliver remarks and mingle with attendees.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential contender, will also speak.

Why it matters: The incident gives Timken more visibility and access to Trump, which is crucial as he continues to be the party’s rainmaker and most influential player.

  • It also underscores how Trump’s efforts to continue leading the GOP have made all interactions with donors high-stakes.

Background: Trump previously showed interest in endorsing Timken, but was ultimately talked out of it by his son, Donald Trump Jr., and other top advisers.

  • Mandel and Timken have long been extremely pro-Trump and both are vying to get the former president's endorsement — which could be the deciding factor in who wins the race to replace Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who recently announce he will not run for reelection.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
1 hour ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

2 hours ago - World

UN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

A Palestinian woman walks after she collects her belongings inside her damaged house following an Israeli air in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Eight people, including two children, have been killed in Israel, Reuters reported, citing Israeli authorities.

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