GOP rep will run for Ohio governor

GOP rep will run for Ohio governor
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) is joining the race for Ohio governor in 2018, vowing to end “pay for play” economic policies and aligning himself closely with President Trump.

Renacci, who has served in Congress since 2011, on Monday launched his campaign website, OhioFirst.com, which is a play off of Trump’s slogan “America First.”

The Ohio Republican, one of the wealthiest lawmakers in Congress, is touting his business credentials, saying the state needs a leader “who understands what it means to create a job.” In his campaign video, Renacci tells a group of voters that he wants to simplify the tax code, end "pay for play" and nix regulations that he argues are hurting Ohio.

“That’s the reason I want to be the next governor of the state of Ohio,” Renacci said in the video, which ends with him riding off on a motorcycle.

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Renacci is running for the seat of term-limited Gov. John Kasich (R), and his candidacy was first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

He is the second declared GOP candidate in the race, after Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

Other GOP names circulating as likely candidates are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, there are three declared candidates including former state Rep. Connie Pillich, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni and former Rep. Betty Sutton.

In 2012, after redistricting in Ohio made Sutton’s district more GOP-leaning, Renacci defeated her by a few points.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who unsuccessfully challenged House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her leadership post, passed on the governor’s race late last month.

This story was updated at 10:35 a.m.