WELLINGTON — One of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s favorite parts of his U.S. Senate campaign has been hitting county fairs across the state this summer, and the Lorain County Fair was no exception Thursday.
“County fairs are great because you get to meet and interact with a variety of people,” the Wadsworth Republican said. “It’s not just Democrats or Republicans. It’s different people from across the county, so you really get a good mix. It’s really been so far so good.”
Renacci said he hasn’t seen his opponent, two-term U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, at any of the county fairs this summer even if he does have a booth with other Democratic candidates.
The congressman said in addition to the differences in their campaign tours — him visiting events such as fairs and Brown visiting union halls across the state — the two men differ in their career paths.
“You know, he’s been around for 44 years,” Renacci said. “He’s a career politician. He’s been involved in politics since he got out of college. I’m not. I’m a career businessman and what I’m hearing people say is they don’t like what’s going on in Washington, D.C., and they don’t like the status quo. Well, someone who’s been around that long is definitely part of that.”
Renacci, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, entered the Senate race in January after state Treasurer Josh Mandel dropped out, citing family health reasons.
Even though he had a late start, he said, he still thinks it’s going well.
“We’ve had eight months to work on this campaign so far, and Sherrod Brown has had six years,” he said. “And so, for every internal poll we have to show us within the margin of error is a huge victory, especially because we’re being outspent.”
Renacci also gave his opinion on the recent news earlier this week that President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen took a plea deal regarding a federal campaign finance charge and other financial charges and Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of the 18 tax and bank fraud charges he was facing.
Both cases are related to a federal investigation spearheaded by special counsel Robert Mueller looking into Russian interference with the 2016 general election.
Manafort also has a trial next month in Washington, D.C.,on charges of failure to report as a lobbyist for a foreign entity and witness tampering.
“I’m frustrated because both Cohen and Manafort’s charges aren’t related back to why the Mueller investigation was started,” Renacci said. “It was supposed to be about the Russia conspiracy, and there wasn’t one. Has Paul Manafort committed crimes? Yes, but not in the scope of the Russia conspiracy.”
Renacci said when he speaks to people at events like the county fair, they don’t want to talk to him about Cohen or Manafort.
“People are fed up with hearing and talking about that,” he said. “They want to talk about jobs and the economy. They want to talk about immigration and the opioid epidemic, which, by the way, isn’t new. That didn’t start last year or the year before. It’s started in the last 25 years that Sherrod Brown was in Congress. If he had the answer for how to fix this, wouldn’t he have done it already?”
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