Renacci has the advantage in GOP race for US Senate

The battle between the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate can be summarized with this question: Is it a sin to be a “career politician?”

Investment banker Mike Gibbons, who is making his first bid for elected office, thinks so. And, the Fairview Park resident is quick to pin that label on Congressman Jim Renacci, his chief competitor in the May 8 GOP primary.

Interestingly, Renacci of Wadsworth also believes that being a career politician is a bad thing. This, despite the fact that he has served in U.S. House of Representatives since January 2011, had initially entered the race for the Republican nomination for governor, and then flipped over to the Senate contest after Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel withdrew.

But Renacci argues that his tenure in Congress, his four years as mayor of Wadsworth and his current bid for statewide office do not mean that politics is now his career.

He contends that his 30-year history of owning and operating numerous businesses through which he created 1,500 jobs negates Gibbons’ criticism of him.

It’s not happenstance that both candidates talk derisively about career politicians. The winner of the Republican nomination will challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is completing his second, six-year term in Congress and has held various elected offices for more than four decades.

The Republican Party can be expected to use the strategy adopted by political newcomer Donald Trump, who won the presidency by denigrating “career politicians” during the GOP primary and the general election.

Thus, in the race for the GOP nomination – there are three other candidates on the ballot – Republicans are faced with voting for someone who has never run for office or for a candidate who has a record as a member of Congress.

We believe that experience in government can be an important attribute when seeking higher office.

We understand that both Renacci and Gibbons are taking their cues from Trump’s 2016 campaign in Ohio and, therefore, are eager to portray themselves as outsiders.

Both also insist they are strong supporters of Trump, who has endorsed Renacci.

The two leading candidates for the GOP nomination are also emphasizing their conservative credentials, thus blurring their ideological differences.

Here’s what Renacci wrote in The Vindicator’s candidate survey form:

“While I have spent a vast majority of my career in the business world – not politics – I strongly believe in the need to advance a commonsense conservative agenda for our country and to replace career politicians with public servants who’ve actually had to live and work under the law and regulations our government enacts.”

And here’s what Gibbons wrote:

“Washington is broken and career politicians are the problem, not the solution. We’ve seen it again and again, as Republicans fail to live up to their campaign promises, don’t get the wall built, vote for a massive expansion of government, and continue to send taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood. We need a true outsider who’s not afraid of the lobbyist and power-brokers. I’m a businessman not a politician. I’m blunt and I’m not going to Washington to make friends. I’m going to get the job done and drain the swamp.”

Core issues

The two candidates are in agreement on the core issues that Republicans embrace: crackdown on immigration; elimination of regulations that apply to business and industry; reduction in federal government spending; the implementation of pro-growth economic policies.

Thus, the May 8 race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate is about perception.

Renacci, while embracing conservative orthodoxy, has a more realistic view of how Congress works because he has been on Capitol Hill for several years. He knows that bipartisanship is necessary, especially when dealing with such urgent matters as the opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives in Ohio.

We believe the congressman has a more realistic view of how things are done in Washington.

The Vindicator endorses Renacci for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

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