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Renacci tells supporters he's running for Senate

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U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, is dropping out as a candidate for the 2018 Ohio governor's race.

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U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of the Akron area told supporters Thursday through an email that he intends to drop out of the race for governor of Ohio and instead run for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.

The decision, which follows a high-profile effort earlier in the week to show he is following the wishes of President Donald Trump, pits him first against Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons for the nomination. If successful, he would then face U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) in the general election.

An opening for Mr. Renacci was created Friday when Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel dropped out of the race, saying he needs to devote attention to his wife’s undisclosed illness.

“Earlier this week I was asked to attend a meeting at the White House, at which I was asked to help protect the future of President Trump’s agenda by entering Ohio’s 2018 race for the United States Senate,” Mr. Renacci said in the emailed statement.

“While my strong distaste for Washington and the political establishment is as fervent as ever, so too is my commitment to advancing the President’s agenda for a stronger and more prosperous America. And for that reason I’ve agreed to answer the call to service and enter the race for United States Senate,” Mr. Renacci said.

He said his running mate candidate, Amy Murray of Cincinnati, would serve as his statewide campaign chairman.

Mr. Renacci, 59, a former mayor of Wadsworth, Ohio, now in his fourth term in Congress, said in his email that he spent most of his career in the business world and that he ran for Congress because “I was deeply concerned over the direction of our country and its lack of accountable leadership in Washington.”

He called Senator Brown, who was elected in 2006 and again in 2012, a “far left, career politician.”

The Gibbons campaign said he is staying in the race for the May 8 primary.

"No one has done more to support President Trump in Ohio than Mike Gibbons has, including serving as a campaign finance chair for the President and no one will do more than Mike to advance conservative policies and the Trump agenda in the Senate,” said Mr. Gibbons’ general consultant, Mike Biundo. “Voters want a true outsider in the race and are tired of career politicians who are always interested in their next job. The fact remains that Mike Gibbons is far better positioned to defeat Sherrod Brown than any member of Congress."

Mr. Renacci leaves the Republican race for governor to Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and their running mates.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com419-724-6058, or on Twitter @TomFTroy.

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