WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: JIM RENACCI TAKES ON MIKE DEWINE, OHIO’S CUOMO
Cleveland, OH – A recap of news coverage of businessman and former Congressman Jim Renacci’s announcement to run for Governor of Ohio.
"Ohio cannot afford for Mike DeWine to be the governor anymore," Renacci said in a Wednesday interview. "My path may have been diverted in 2018 but my will really to change Ohio was not."
Renacci, 62, of Wadsworth, is banking on Republicans' anger toward DeWine, who closed businesses, schools and even the polls to slow the spread of COVID-19. For some Republicans, Ohio would have been better off with a governor like South Dakota's Kristi Noem or Florida's Ron DeSantis who imposed few restrictions.
DeWine's hold on the GOP electorate has some cracks. Conservative activists have protested DeWine's health orders outside his Cedarville home. DeWine's running mate Jon Husted was booed at a then-President Donald Trump rally for recommending masks. A Republican lawmaker even tried to impeach DeWine.
"In Mike DeWine's Ohio, our state has lost ground. Corruption is up. We're ranked No. 1 and our state can't compete in the national economy," said Renacci, referencing the arrest of former Speaker Larry Householder and the FBI search of a DeWine-appointed utility regulator.
“I still believe we need to fix Ohio. I still believe Ohio is broken… The Democrats seem to support DeWine more than Republicans.”
“One of the biggest problems in Columbus today is we have House members and Senate members, Republicans and Democrats, who are clearly unhappy because the governor is not listening to them. He’s just doing what he wants to do. As many of the mask mandates, many of the things he did, they weren’t even aware of it until after he did it. I think when you are governor, you have to be able to work with the Legislature.”
“Look at our economy, I mean we’re fiftieth now in job creation today. We’re number one in corruption today. So if you start to look at our state, we have three of the most dangerous cities.”
“Two and a half years ago I said [DeWine] would never make a good governor. Because what we’ve done over the last two and a half years is we’ve fallen behind even further. Economically we can’t compete. If you look at the number, we’re in the fortieth, fiftieth range whether it’s taxation, all these things we’re losing ground. I think that’s the choice people have to make. Do we want a state that can’t compete?”
In addition to serving as the representative for Ohio's 16th U.S. Congressional District in 2011-19, Renacci is a former Wadsworth City Council president and two-term Wadsworth mayor. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Renacci frequently took part in the city of Wadsworth's pandemic recovery committee meetings to offer fiscal advice from a micro and macro perspective. He has worked in the private sector as a businessman and accountant.
In 2019, Renacci established the Ohio's Future Foundation, a nonprofit focusing on a number of initiatives including repeal of Common Core standards in schools, municipal tax reform, vocational education, funding of new infrastructure, ways for businesses to address rising health care costs, and how to best use wind and solar energy along with resources such as coal and nuclear power.
In a campaign announcement video, Renacci took issue with DeWine’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on business. While Ohio has lost 132,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, the unemployment rate has dropped from 4.9% to 4.7%, according to federal figures.
“DeWine represented fear over freedom,” he said in a video posted Wednesday. “He cost Ohio big time. So many jobs are gone. Local businesses perished, shutdowns, schools closed.”
"DeWine defied Trump and was praised by Biden,” he added.
Renacci claimed that DeWine is "more interested in being the Andrew Cuomo of Ohio rather than actually helping everyday Ohioans" and in a campaign video characterized the governor as "a career politician."
In an exclusive interview with Fox News last month, Renacci panned DeWine's performance. "If you compare Ohio to other states, he is definitely failing," Renacci said. "He has not been able to move the needle."
And he said at the time that he had seen four polls – including one that he commissioned – that all show him leading DeWine in a hypothetical 2022 Ohio GOP gubernatorial primary showdown that would shape up as a clash between the party establishment and loyalists and supporters of former President Donald Trump.
A recent poll of likely Ohio GOP primary voters shared by Parscale and conducted by Tony Fabrizio, Trump's chief pollster in 2016 and 2020, found that 52 percent viewed DeWine somewhat or very unfavorably, and 54 percent somewhat or strongly disapproved of his job performance. In a head-to-head match up, Renacci led DeWine 42 percent to 34 percent, inclusive of voters who leaned toward one candidate or the other.
The former representative has vowed to make Ohio a Second Amendment sanctuary and has called for "full tax reform" in the state, his campaign website states. He has also called to eliminate critical race theory curriculum in schools and vowed to wipe out corruption in state politics.
"Pro Police, Pro Law and Order, Pro Second Amendment, Pro Taxpayer, Pro Life, Pro Family, Pro Business," he wrote in a Tuesday tweet. "Ohio First means America First!"
Renacci, who previously ran for governor in the state in 2017 and later dropped out to run for U.S. Senate, made the announcement on WTAM 1100, a local radio station.
“Ohio cannot afford for Mike DeWine to be the governor anymore,” Renacci said in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday. “My path may have been diverted in 2018, but my will really to change Ohio was not.”
“In Mike DeWine’s Ohio, our state has lost ground. Corruption is up. We’re ranked No. 1 and our state can’t compete in the national economy,” Renacci added.