Congressman Jim Renacci said any candidate who abuses a woman should be disqualified from serving in public office during the second U.S. Senate debate with Senator Sherrod Brown in Columbus on Saturday.
Renacci sparred with Brown again about his 1986 divorce in which Brown’s ex-wife claimed in court documents that Brown shoved her and that she felt bullied and intimidated. As a result, Renacci said Brown is unfit for office.
Brown said Renacci should be ashamed for attacking his family.
“I’ve answered that question numerous times with you, numerous times. My former wife has asked that you stop attacking our family. The state’s newspapers have asked that you stop making these kinds of disgusting allegations. You should be ashamed of yourself,” Brown said.
Friends of Sherrod Brown campaign manager Justin Barasky released a statement after the debate, saying Renacci is continuing to lie about Brown and his family.
“The same week Congressman Renacci spread falsehoods about Sherrod and doubled down on his attacks on Sherrod’s family, Renacci struggled and lied his way through the debate, unable to provide voters with a single reason they should support him,” Barasky said.
“He couldn’t defend his deficit-busting tax giveaway to the wealthy or his record of supporting policies that would increase healthcare costs on Ohioans.”
Renacci has raised the issue of domestic violence allegations against Brown in campaign ads and in the first debate in Cleveland.
Renacci said Brown in December 2016 asked Senator Al Franken to step down when he learned there was a substantiated sexual assault allegation.
Congressman Tim Ryan asked Archie Parnell, a congressional candidate South Carolina, to step down after he admitted to abusing his ex-wife more than 40 years ago. Renacci said abuse is not a standard of conduct that should be tolerated in the House or the Senate.
“I don’t believe that any man, any man that touches and harms a woman that is just absolutely unacceptable,” Renacci said.
Renacci said there is evidence the abuse occurred because there are affidavits and restraining orders. He also said forgiveness should not matter.
When NBC4 Anchor Colleen Marshall, who moderated the debate, asked Renacci if President Donald Trump should be held to the same standard, Renacci did not answer the question.
Marshall said Ivana Trump made allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault against Trump in court documents and sworn deposition testimony in court documents.
In addition, Marshall said there was “demonstrable evidence of infidelity” against Trump.
But Renacci told Marshall the focus should be on the candidates in the senate race, not the president.
“This isn’t about President Trump. There are a lot of things about President Trump that he says or does that maybe I don’t like. But I do like what he’s doing with the economy. If that what (Brown) wants to use in the 2020 campaign it can be used. But right now we’re talking about a senate race. I’m not running for president,” Renacci said.
Renacci also Brown should not get a pass when it comes to his ex-wife’s allegations of domestic violence.
“Sen. Brown does not get grandfathered in on this issue. When it comes to the president, if the senator wants to run against the president in 2020 he can use that information against him. But this race, this race here, is about Jim Renacci and Sen. Brown and it’s about whether he is disqualified to be a United States Senator …,” Renacci said.
Brown’s campaign said the race should focus on the issues.
“Sherrod made tonight’s debate about the issues important to those he serves and his record of standing up for them. That’s the key difference between Sherrod and Congressman Renacci, and Sherrod’s strong support around the state will continue to carry him to victory on Election Day,” Barasky said.