Saying he was recruited personally by President Donald Trump to run for the senate, Rep. Jim Renacci, R-16, clearly has aligned himself directly with the White House in his bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH.
Speaking to the Daily Times at a Scioto County Republican Party fundraiser in Portsmouth earlier this month, Renacci talked a lot about what he termed the red-hot Trump economy. He bragged about record low unemployment, about an economy growing at 4.2 percent and gave the credit to Trump and his fellow Republicans. With that in mind, Renacci believes the Ohio senate race could have national implications.
“It is important to make sure we continue to have a Senate who will move the Trump economy forward as opposed to going back to the days of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama which is where Sherrod Brown would like to go,” Renacci said.
According to Renacci, Brown has voted against Trump and his initiatives 81 percent of the time.
The senior senator from Ohio, Brown was first elected to the Senate in 2006. He previously served as a congressman from Ohio’s 13th District. Asked for comment in response to the Renacci interview, Brown’s office responded with a one paragraph statement.
“While Sherrod has worked across party lines to ensure that all Ohioans see their hard work pay off, Congressman Renacci has been doing anything he thinks will help himself get ahead — whether that means voting for massive tax handouts for his wealthy donors or flying around Ohio on a private plane owned by a strip club owner.”
Brown’s office did not respond to an email suggesting the brief response was insufficient.
“Small businesses and manufacturers are the backbone of Ohio’s economy,” Brown is quoted as saying on his campaign website. He further talks about supporting legislation meant to allow small businesses to stay competitive by writing off research and development costs and investments in business equipment and software.
On another economic front, Brown talked about increasing trade to benefit Ohio’s businesses.
“We want more trade — Ohio businesses, including our auto supply chain, rely on trade with our neighbors. But trade should happen on a truly level playing field, and that’s not what we have right now.”
Again, on his website, Brown talks about speaking out against NAFTA and trade agreements with Central America, Colombia, China and South Korea. He stated he led bipartisan efforts to secure better deals for workers, working with the Trump administration on the renegotiation of NAFTA.
The debate over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court still was underway when Renacci was visiting Portsmouth. He described the situation as “sad.” Renacci charged the Democrats with creating an atmosphere in which a mere accusation of wrongdoing automatically disqualified candidates or nominees from holding office.
Brown’s website appears to contain no comments on the fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination, but Brown did vote against that nomination along with all but one of his fellow Democrats.
While Renacci proudly admits to being a Trump supporter, he also states he does not like everything the president says or tweets.
“You might not like some of the things he says or some of the tweets he sends out, which I don’t, but you have to really like the economy and what’s going on. You have to look at your 401(k), at the jobs that are now available, at the growth of the economy… These are all positives that are caused because we now have a president who is willing to pass a tax cut and jobs bill and eliminate a regulatory climate and to do things that make people proud and happy and give them some enthusiasm which is all part of it.”
Renacci readily admitted the Trump economy also features a significant increase in the national debt. He first argued that is a separate issue but said only economic growth ultimately will allow Washington to decrease the deficit.
On his website, Brown touches on several other topics. Here are a few quotes from that website:
– “From protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species and toxic algal blooms to promoting a clean energy future, defending clean water and clean air is more important than ever.”
–“It has been my honor to stand alongside you, fighting to make sure that every Ohioan is treated equally under the law and given the respect they deserve. I will never compromise on these principles and I will continue to work to drive your movement forward,” Brown said speaking about his claim of love and respect for all Ohioans.
–“We have made promises to our seniors that we must honor – Medicare, Social Security, affordable prescription drugs. These men and women have worked their entire lives, taken care of their families, and they deserve a quality of life that reflects that.”
On one page, Brown’s website blasts Renacci and the Republicans for allegedly attempting to pay for tax cuts by cutting various social programs including Medicare and Social Security.
While he stated growth will help decrease the deficit, Renacci also talked about the need to look at the revenue side of the federal budget.
“We need to be able to look at our spending habits, we need to make sure Social Security and Medicare are sustainable and here for the future but at the same time too many career politicians want to stick their head in the sand so until we look at our spending side, we are going to continue to have deficits.”