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Jim Renacci Says He Will Challenge Mike DeWine For Governor Of Ohio

jim rennaci
Tony Dejak

Jim Renacci, the former congressman from northeast Ohio, announced Wednesday he would take on his fellow Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in the 2022 primary.

"Enough is enough with Ohio's wannabe Cuomo, Mike DeWine," Renacci wrote on Twitter, referencing the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. "Now is the time to put a conservative leader in charge. It's time to make the people of this great state a priority." 

Renacci first announced is candidacy To WTAM 1100 in Cleveland. 

On Twitter, Renacci has been highly critical of DeWine for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, saying the governor has over-reached his authority, and blaming DeWine for weakening the state's economy. This prompted WVXU Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson to last year ask the four-term congressman if he planned to challenge DeWine.

"I do believe Gov. DeWine has the same policies of (Democratic) Gov. (Ted) Strickland and others before him that got us into this mess,'' Renacci said in December. "And I will be either supporting candidates who are taking him on or running against him myself."

Most recently, Renacci made a run for U.S. Senate against Sherrod Brown in 2018. He lost, but with nearly 47% of the vote, did well enough that he remains a viable Republican candidate.

And his gubernatorial ambitions had to be bolstered when President Trump – whom Renacci has followed faithfully – tweeted out last November that DeWine might have a primary opponent in 2022. Trump was upset with DeWine because he told CNN that Joe Biden had won the 2020 presidential election.

In addition to his time in politics, Renacci is the founder of Ohio's Future Foundation, a nonprofit that recently commissioned academics from the University of Akron and Ball State University to analyze Ohio's current economic conditions and its likely trajectory in the future.

So far, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is the only one on the Democratic side to formally announce her candidacy to become Ohio's next governor.