Renacci said VP will be in Ohio to stump for him


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci said he “had no interest” in running for the Senate but opted to do so at the urging of President Donald Trump’s senior staff.

“It took a lot of convincing to get me to run,” Renacci, of Wadsworth, R-16th, said in a Monday telephone interview with The Vindicator. “I had a lot of stipulations, and they met all of them. They agreed to be very supportive. I had seven or eight items required to make this switch.”

Renacci declined to disclose his stipulations, but said both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will be in Ohio “a lot over the next eight, nine months” campaigning for him.

“My biggest goal is to get the president’s agenda passed,” he said. “The president says we have to get the economy growing including fair-trade deals.”

Renacci met with Trump’s senior staff at the White House on Jan. 10, five days after state Treasurer Josh Mandel withdrew from the Republican primary for the Senate seat held by Democrat Sherrod Brown. A day after the meeting, Renacci announced he’d run for the six-year term.

At the time, Renacci was a candidate for governor.

“Sometimes leadership isn’t about what you want to do, but what you have to do,” he said Monday. “I was asked to help the situation.”

Renacci, who’s served in the U.S. House since 2011 after about 30 years in the private sector, said Brown has been running for elected office since 1974 when the Republican was a high-school sophomore.

Brown “is the epitome of a career politician,” Renacci said.

Despite his years in Washington, D.C., Renacci said, “When you leave the private sector and come to Washington because you’re frustrated with the process, you don’t become a career politician.” He described himself as a “businessman in the political world trying to make a difference for my children and my grandchildren.”

Renacci also criticized Brown for being a part of the Senate Democrats bloc that shut down the federal government.

“This was a political shutdown,” he said. “It was based on Democrats in the Senate that wanted DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], which had nothing to do with a funding bill.” Renacci added: “I truly blame this on the Democrats in the Senate.”

“Rep. Jim Renacci’s rhetoric is just as disingenuous as his attempts to pretend he isn’t a Washington insider who’s been in Congress for nearly a decade,” said Lara Sisselman, an Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman.

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