Pro-Trump banker joins GOP field for US Senate race in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Another pro-Trump Republican entered the race Tuesday for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the GOP’s Sen. Rob Portman.
Mike Gibbons, a former Cleveland investment banker, said his campaign would build on the experience and name recognition he gained by running unsuccessfully in 2018.
He stepped down Feb. 11 as chairman of Ohio Strong Action, a conservative group that supports former President Donald Trump. He joins a field filled so far with supporters of Trump, who twice carried Ohio.
Gibbons has said he will donate $5 million of his own money to kickstart his campaign.
Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced a bid for the Republican nomination Feb. 10, and former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken formally entered the race Feb. 18. Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno joined the field last week.
Several Republican U.S. House members and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance are also considering running. No major Democrats have announced yet, but U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of northeast Ohio is expected to.
During the 2020 election cycle, Gibbons’ group Ohio Strong Action endorsed and supported conservative candidates and produced a pro-Trump TV ad. As the group’s chair, Gibbons spoke to groups around the state and organized small business roundtables, as well as donating $500,000 to support Republican candidates, he said.
Gibbons said in an earlier statement that he has continued to build the grassroots organization since it backed former U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, who won 38 of Ohio 88 counties in the 2018 Senate primary. Democrat Sherrod Brown handily defeated Renacci that year to win reelection to a third six-year term.
Portman’s surprise announcement Jan. 25 that he would not seek a third term has set up what likely will be one of the nation’s highest profile races in 2022 as both parties battle for Senate control.
Associated Press writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.