Jim Renacci says he’s running against sitting Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown to bring change and to kick career politicians out of Washington. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is.
Much of the rhetoric from Renacci’s camp is similar to the rhetoric President Donald J. Trump’s campaign used in 2016, but there’s one notable difference: Renacci himself is a member of Congress.
The Republican has represented Ohio’s 16th congressional district since 2010, but he isn’t well-known outside of northeast Ohio. He says he’s trying to change that.
“I was a business guy for almost three decades,” Renacci said. “But again, when you are in business, you’re not selling your name and selling what you’ve been doing, so I just need to get out and let people know who I am.”
Renacci also fired shots at Brown, who has represented Ohio both as a senator and as a congressman since 1993, calling him a career politician.
“In fact, in 1997, I remember him [Brown] saying the biggest problem with Washington is that people go and stay for 20 or 30 years. He’s been there that long,” Renacci said.
Renacci said his business experience is central to his campaign and hopes it will voters see the difference between him and Brown.
“I’ve created over 1,500 [jobs] and employed more than 3,000 people,” he said. “It’s a big difference.”
Renacci also responded to attack ads from Brown’s camp and denies that he was ever a lobbyist, although he was previously registered as one.
“I never lobbied a day in my life,” he said. “There was a company that I started, formed and the attorneys registered us, but then the company never did anything … How can you call somebody a lobbyist who’s never lobbied a day in their life?”
According to the Associated Press, Renacci filed papers clarifying the date his lobbyist registration was deactivated. A review by the AP found a form required to complete the deactivation process that had begun in 2009 had not been filed until May 2011, four months after Renacci became a member of Congress.
Renacci isn’t just borrowing the president’s posturing as a businessman and Washington outsider — he said he also stands for many of Trump’s same policies.
“I’m somebody who believes in the Trump agenda,” he said. “I’m someone who believes in the 4.1% growth. I’m someone who believes in all the jobs that have been created because the economy is growing, so I believe in his agenda and I believe we should support his agenda.”
When asked if there were any areas where he differed from Trump, Renacci said voters may not like Trump on a personal level, but if they agree with his policies, that’s a positive.
“Here’s what I’ll say about Donald Trump: You’ll get to make your decision again in three years,” he said. “I’m really concerned about our children and grandchildren. I’m concerned about our economy and jobs going overseas.”
You can watch Colleen Marshall’s full interview with Renacci above.