Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown opened his fall re-election bid Friday with an attack against his Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, over the Congressman's period as a registered lobbyist.
“Jim Renacci’s been a lobbyist even while in Congress,” says the 30-second television spot. “And what's he done? He voted to make it easier for lobbyists to hold key government positions and harder to investigate conflicts of interest. And now he's running for Senate? Jim Renacci. He's always looked out for himself."
Medium Buying, a Republican media firm, reports that Brown bought more than $327,000 in broadcast and cable ads for this weekend, including during the upcoming Cleveland Cavaliers-Boston Celtics game.
The Associated Press reported in March that Renacci failed to disclose nearly $50,000 in political contributions while registered as a lobbyist. It is true that Renacci remained registered as a lobbyist for four months after he had entered Congress.
However, Renacci's campaign has said he never actively lobbied anyone and registered to represent his consulting firm, Smokerise International Group, merely as a precaution. He amended his termination paperwork after the AP report.
Renacci, 59, a businessman and former Wadsworth mayor, won the backing of President Donald Trump in the GOP primary and is among the party's favored hopes to beat a Senate Democrat.
Meanwhile, 65-year-old Brown, a former Congressman and Ohio Secretary of State, is among the chamber's most liberal members, a potential vulnerability, as well as being a repeated winner — with a favored name among Ohio voters — at the ballot box.
The negativity of the attack shows Brown is bracing for a nasty and expensive fight to hold onto his seat. After Renacci claimed the Republican nomination, he told supporters that “Ohio is a Trump state” and that “Ohio is going to get anybody that’s an obstacle, including Sen. Brown, out of the way.”
Brown’s attack on Renacci’s lobbying history follows his previous comments that Renacci is part of a Congress “in the pockets of special interests.”