Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) will drop out of Ohio’s gubernatorial race to run for the Republican nomination in the state’s Senate race, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Wednesday.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported, citing unnamed Republicans with knowledge of the decision, that Renacci decided to run for Senate after White House political staff urged him to run against incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and will announce his candidacy on Thursday. Cleveland.com also reported that White House officials urged Renacci to drop his gubernatorial bid and run for Senate.
An unnamed source close to the White House told the Cincinnati Enquirer, according to the report, that the White House staffers cited Renacci’s support for President Donald Trump in their conversations.
Renacci on Monday told Cleveland radio station WTAM that he “would consider” running for Senate if he had Trump’s support.
“If the President of the United States reaches out and contacts me and asks to me to jump in that race, I would consider it only at that point,” Renacci said. “I would need his help at this late part of the game.”
Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel, who was Republicans’ top candidate to oppose Brown, unexpectedly dropped out of the race last week, citing his wife’s health.
“We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence,” Mandel said in a statement. “Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign.”
Republican donor and businessman Mike Gibbons is currently the only other candidate in the state’s GOP primary, though a number of other Republican candidates have reportedly also expressed interest in the race.