Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Renacci has switched his political sights from Ohio governor to the U.S. Senate.
Treasurer Josh Mandel had planned a rematch of his 2012 run against Brown. But he announced last week that he was giving up the race because of his wife's health. That led to speculation that one or more in the crowded GOP field for governor would decide on a Senate run instead. Earlier this week, Congressman Jim Renacci told Cleveland radio station WTAM he was considering the switch.
“As I’ve said many many times, if the president of the United States reaches out and contacts me and asks me to jump in that race, I would consider it only at that point,” he said.
Renacci says that has happened, so he’s running for the U.S. Senate. But another Republican who entered the Senate race months ago isn't backing away. Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons has pledged to put up another $5 million towards his campaign. And others being quietly pressed by Republicans to join include author J.D. Vance and former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, now the president of Youngstown State.
Renacci, the former mayor of Wadworth, nursing home operator and car dealer, is the 41st richest member of Congress. He was first elected in the tea party wave of 2010, beating one-term Democrat John Boccieri. The district was later redrawn by Republican state lawmakers to match him up against another congressional incumbent, Democrat Beatty Sutton, whom he beat.
Sutton is now the running mate of Richard Cordray for governor.
The formal filing deadline for candidates for the May primary is Feb. 7.