US Sen. Sherrod Brown opens re-election bid with attack

May 18, 2018 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Democratic U.S. 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.

Renacci, 59, a businessman and former Wadsworth mayor, won the backing of President Donald Trump in the GOP primary and he’s among the party’s favored hopes to beat a Senate Democrat.

Brown, 65, 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.

Here’s a look at the ad that’s kicking off the contest:


LENGTH: 30 seconds

AIRING: State broadcast television

SCRIPT: Narrator: “The U.S. Congress. There’s 68 teachers, 15 farmers, four pilots, but only one lobbyist. That’s right. Jim Renacci’s been a lobbyist even while in Congress. 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.”

ANALYSIS: The spot suggests that Renacci is currently a lobbyist. He isn’t.

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.

The negativity of the attack shows Brown is bracing for a nasty and expensive fight to hold onto his seat. Getting voters to think “lobbyist” when they think of Renacci is a tactic Democrats will likely use to suggest Republicans have not “drained the swamp” as Republican President Donald Trump said he would.