Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Looks Like Renacci Will Be The Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate For The Trump Party-- At Least For Now


Rep. Jim Renacci (R), backstage, shakes hands with some old rocker from the past

John Kasich will be termed out as Ohio governor next year. It looks like 4 well-known Republicans-- ex-Senator Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Secretary of State Jon Husted and, as of yesterday, Congressman Jim Renacci-- and an unknown number of Democrats-- from ex-Congressmembers Betty Sutton and Dennis Kucinich, ex-state Rep. Connie Pillich, Columbus ex-Mayor Michael Coleman and ex-state Sen. Nina Turner to CFPB Director Richard Cordray, state Senate minority leader Joe Schiavoni. Judges Bill O'Neill and Jennifer Brunner and Cincinnati and Dayton Mayors John Cranley and Nan Whaley-- are getting into a free-for-all battle for their parties' nominations.
Renacci, a four-term congressman and former Wadsworth mayor, is positioning himself as an outsider in the mold of President Donald Trump, whose White House victory last year stunned the political establishment. Renacci emphasizes his background as a businessman. He also emphasizes his roots in "a working class, union family" growing up in the Pittsburgh area.

...Renacci, 58, lacks the flashy personality and the wide name-recognition of Trump, who for years starred in a reality TV show that made him a national celebrity. He could benefit, though, from his enthusiastic support for Trump last year at a time when other Ohio Republicans who were loyal to Kasich's unsuccessful presidential bid kept their distance. Rob Scott, a top Ohio operative for the Trump campaign, has signed on to assist Renacci's campaign.

An accountant by trade, Renacci is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. Other business interests have included nursing homes and an Arena Football league franchise.
Hard to imagine Renacci being a viable candidate for governor if he votes-- as he is likely to do on Thursday, having already done so in the House Ways and Means Committee-- for higher health insurance premiums, less coverage and a fat tax break for insurance industry CEOs. As Trump's popularity collapses and buyers' remorse sets in, even among Trump's own voters in places like Ohio-- they like the the Great Lakes to be clean there don't they, even if it is just Lake Erie?-- hard core Trumpists like Renacci are going to find themselves in difficult situations.

When Renacci officially declared yesterday, after fundraisers with his pal Bon Jovi in Columbus and Cleveland, he signaled the start for a battle for his 16th congressional district, a gerrymandered conglomerateion of suburbs drawn to carefully skirt Cleveland, Akron and Canton. Most of the votes in the district come out of Cuyahoga County, although Medina, Stark, Wayne and Summit counties are each almost equally important. Obama lost the district both times--51-47% to McCain and 54-45% to Romney in 2012. Last year OH-16 was decidedly not Hillary country. Trump beat her 56.1% to 39.5%. Renacci, a self-funding multimillionaires who put $752,400 when he ran against Blue Dog incumbent John Boccieri in 2010, faced off against a Berniecrat with no funding, Keith Mundy in November. Renacci raised $2,088,873 to Mundy's $13,081-- and beat him by over 100,000 votes-- 221,495 (65.4%) to 117,296 (34.6%).

One problem though-- no one, on either side of the aisle, thinks Renacci will still be in the gubernatorial race come next December when he actually has to make up his mind to give up his seat in Congress or not. So far no Republicans have been jumping in and the only Democrat seriously talking about it-- Renacci or no Renacci-- is Keith Mundy. There's some talk about the congenital losers who make up the centrist Democratic Party establishment in Ohio recruiting former Parma mayor Dean DePiero, who was too mired in corruption to even run for mayor again but... well, that's the Ohio Democratic Party, which is, after all, the sole explanation for how the Ohio Republican Party is able to do so well.

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