Ohio Senate Race in Turmoil for Republicans
January 5th was not a good day for Republicans here in the state of Ohio with the announcement of Josh Mandel, current state Treasurer and candidate for Senate in 2012, who was the frontrunner for the nomination, announced he was withdrawing from the race because of his wife's health condition.
This leaves the field wide open for candidates to come in, with the primary fast approaching on May 8th. There are numerous ones who could rise, including current governor John Kasich, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, and House Rep from Ohio's 16th District Jim Renacci.
John Kasich, the current governor of Ohio, would have issues in running for the Senate race in receiving conservative and Republican votes due to his taking a national stage to be the main opposition to president Trump from conservatives. Trump, who is very popular in Ohio, winning 52% of the vote and hosting his first post election rally at Cincinnati's Lunken Field, has a highly tumultuous relationship with and often criticizes Governor Kasich's not being behind him.
This rift between the two could prove disastrous for Kasich and any chances of getting a Republican to unseat two term Democrat incumbent Sherrod Brown. Trump is known for using his personal popularity to try and weigh the scales in favor or against certain candidates, as was seen in Alabama when Trump tried to help incumbent Luther Strange and predicted a loss for Roy Moore, which did come true in the shocking special election of December, 2017. Kasich has since been silent on the issue if he will seek the nomination or not.
Lt. Governor Taylor is currently running for governor, the other big race in Ohio in 2018. Kasich, who is term limited as the governor, has endorsed Taylor for the position to replace him however with the announcement of Attorney General Mike DeWine to run for governor, DeWine being very well known across the state, this throws the potential for Taylor to win that race into question.
In any event, Taylor has stated according to The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cleveland.com that she will not be running for the Senate race. She sent her prayers to Mandel's family over Twitter as well at the time.
Jim Renacci is the last big name to have his name thrown together for potentials. Renacci, who is also running for the Republican nomination for governor, even going so far to announce Cincinnati City Councilwoman Amy Murray as his Lt., has so far been silent on the issue if he wants to run, although it is assumed he will want to focus on his governor run instead of the Senate.
Renacci could be a potential for unseating Brown, being a staunch conservative, supporting Donald Trump, and his popularity in his home district which consists of rural areas surrounding Akron. If he were to run, this could give the Republicans a chance that Mandel could have provided them but Renacci would have to announce he was running first.
With all of these people either being silent or declining outright and the filing deadline of February 7th fast approaching there is no telling how the race could go. If no major Republican files by this date, this will force a crisis within the Ohio Republican Party especially considering we are a swing state with a Senate having only a razor thin majority.
The 2018 Ohio Senate seat had huge potential to help Republicans gain a larger and more workable majority in the Senate before the only strong candidate in the race, Josh Mandel withdrew. Now with a lack of viable candidates and Brown still remaining popular in Ohio, it seems this year in Ohio will be a lost cause for Republicans in the Senate.