2018 Ohio Senate Race: Campaign Update

2018 Ohio Senate Race: Campaign Update

Continuing my series on the Ohio Senate election, this next installment will cover new developments which have occurred since my last article. While the Ohio Senate race isn’t as high stakes or high profile as the Indiana Senate race, for example, Republicans still have their eyes on the state as a possible opportunity to snatch a Senate seat from the Democrats. Incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown is considered a vulnerable Democrat, facing reelection in a state which Trump won by 8%. However, this won’t be a slam dunk for the GOP by any means and will require Republicans to hit the campaign trail hard to hold back the alleged “blue wave.”

The May 8th primary election resulted in a decisive victory for Jim Renacci, who received 47.39% of the vote, whereas competitor Mike Gibbons trailed behind with 31.70%. I was quite confident Renacci would secure the nomination and I have optimism that he poses a formidable threat to Senator Brown. One of my objectives for this article is to further elaborate on Renacci and his campaign, so let’s get right into it.

In April 2018, Renacci explained his campaign strategy to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, saying that he would contrast his business acumen with Brown’s long history in Washington, highlight his support for Trump’s agenda, and underscore Brown’s credentials as one of the most liberal members of Congress. This seems to be a solid plan. Emphasizing past business experience is a tried-and-true tactic, which played a large role in Trump’s victory, as well as this year’s primary election victory of Mike Braun in Indiana.

Prior to being elected to represent Ohio’s 16th Congressional District, Renacci was an entrepreneur involved in a variety of industries whose business success is undeniably confirmed by his estimated net worth of around $36 million, making him one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

In addition to his private-sector achievements, Renacci has the advantage of being a political novice. Political inexperience help propel Trump to victory in 2016, and in 2018 it will create a stark distinction between Renacci and Brown. Renacci entered politics as a city council president, subsequently serving a brief stint as the Mayor of Wadsworth, OH, but it wasn’t until his 2010 election to Congress in Ohio’s 16th Congressional District that he held any major office. On the other hand, Brown’s political career began way back in 1975 and he has held some sort of office nonstop ever since; Brown came into politics as an Ohio State Representative for 8 years, followed by another 8 years as the Ohio Secretary of State, then 14 years as a Congressman for Ohio’s 13th District, and has held his current Senate seat for the last 10 years. Based on resumes alone, each candidate is astronomically different than the other, creating the ideal circumstances for Renacci to stand out.

Examining the third and final point of Renacci’s campaign strategy, Renacci’s advantage remains consistent. Ohio twice cast its votes for Barack Obama, so Trump’s sound victory in Ohio came as a surprise to many and suggested a spreading conservative political climate in the state. A once blue state suddenly flipping red spells bad news for Brown, who is considered not only one of the reliable Democratic votes in Congress, but even one of the most liberal members of Congress. According to bill-sponsorship analysis, GovTrack has identified Brown as a “far-left Democratic leader,” while the same metric classifies Renacci as a “rank-and-file Republican.” Point blank, the changing political climate in Ohio favors a conservative ally of Trump to the disadvantage of an extreme liberal.

On a similar note, The Cincinnati Enquirer published a recent Enquirer/Suffolk University poll, conducted June 6-11, which revealed that Trump is the motivating factor for 8 in 10 Ohio voters in the upcoming election. So, for better or worse, Trump has energized 80% of Ohio voters to get to the polls during a midterm election, which are notorious for their low voter turnout. Unfortunately, the specific break-down of the poll results — pictured below —  is rather inconclusive, keeping in mind that there is still a long summer of campaigning ahead.

To be frank, other polling does not look that great so far. A handful of polls aggregated by RealClearPolitcs amounts to an average of a 15.7% lead for Brown as of June 12th. This RCP average is based on three separate polls:

– Quinnipiac, conducted 6/7-6/12 had Brown up 17%

– Suffolk, conducted 6/6-6/11 (same poll from The Cincinnati Enquirer) had brown up 16%

– And an older poll: WOIO-TV/SurveyUSA, conducted 3/16-3/20 had Brown up 14%

Each poll ranks Brown receiving around 50% of the vote and Renacci receiving somewhere in the mid-thirties. Alarming at first, but like I said, there’s still a political eternity — the entire summer and then some — before voting. The tides shift quickly and a whole lot can happen to shuffle up the playing field. I may just be an optimist, but honestly, I won’t be too worried unless the numbers still don’t look good closer to the end of the summer.

So, what else is there to know about this campaign which I haven’t already outlined? Well one new development is that campaign ads have hit early, Brown coming right out the gate with an immediate attack ad. When this ad hit the airwaves, there was quiet speculation among certain circles in Ohio politics that the ad’s supposed ambition indicated Brown’s Presidential aspirations for 2020, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why anybody would think that. Anyways, Renacci was quick to hit back with own ad and it appears that full-on combat has commenced — upon writing this article I went to re-watch their ads only to discover that now there’s several more ads from each candidate.

Currently, not much else has surfaced in the way of campaign updates, but as things pick up momentum I will continue writing updates on the Ohio Senate race. I want to end this article with a call to action for anyone in Ohio to get involved with Renacci’s campaign. I really can’t belabor this point enough: we need to have a ground game if we’re serious about influencing elections. For anyone who might be black-pilled by the polls I referenced earlier, just remember that the only surefire way to change that is to be actively engaged with the campaign in the grassroots.


Stay tuned for more articles on the 2018 Ohio Senate Race. Follow me on Twitter and Gab at @populist420. Questions, feedback, or tips can be directed to [email protected]

Related Posts