Senate candidate Jim Renacci: Let President Trump pursue his strategy on trade

This year’s race for the Ohio Senate seat has started aggressively, with incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown trying to define his Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, as early as last month with dual ads, aired just days after Renacci won his primary.

One Brown ad attacked Renacci, referring to his time registered as a lobbyist. But Renacci insists that he has never worked as a lobbyist.

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A decade ago, before he became a congressman, Renacci worked as an accountant for Smokerise International, a consulting firm, and he was registered as a lobbyist while with that firm. He deactivated his status as a lobbyist in 2009, but did not file an official follow-up form with the U.S. Senate office until this year.

Renacci has hit Brown back with an ad of his own.

The congressman told Dayton Daily News editors in an interview Monday that he will not let his opponent define him.

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“We put a commercial up already,” the former Wadsworth mayor said. “In the end, this is about just getting two visions. Look, people know me.”

Brown — a former state representative and congressman — “has been around” for more than 40 years, Renacci said.


“When I walk into a room, even a Democrat, even a union leader, even union workers, I ask them: ‘Are you better off today than you were 12 years ago?’” he said. “Most them say, ‘No.’”

Union membership and blue-collar jobs have fallen over the past 12 years, he argues. “Are you better off today than you were 12 years ago?”

Brown is seeking his third six-year term in the Senate. The Northeast Ohio Democrat was set to unveil another ad Tuesday morning.

On trade, Renacci asked that President Trump be given time to pursue his negotiating strategy. With Ohio sending some 38 percent of its exports to Canada, Renacci was asked Monday whether picking a trade war with Canada is good for Ohio.


Trump recently left the G-7 gathering of European nations and Canada without endorsing a final communique and calling the Canadian prime minister “weak.”

“Let’s see where we end up in all of this,” Renacci said Monday. “The president negotiates in a different style than any other president has in the past — and we’ve fallen behind with every other president in the past, Republicans and Democrats.

“I think in the end, let’s give this individual an opportunity to negotiate the way he does,” Renacci said.

On Monday, Renacci was heralding an America First poll that he said shows the Senate race is a close one. The poll shows Brown leading Renacci by 4 points, within the poll’s margin of error, Renacci tweeted.

"The fact that he talks more about polls than the issues important to Ohio workers is a good example that Congressman Renacci only looks out for himself,” said Preston Maddock, communication director for the Brown campaign.

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