Campaign spokesmen for Ohio GOP Senate candidate Jim Renacci and GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine want to make it clear: Despite their past, the two candidates are working together for the good of the Republican Party, according to Cleveland.com.
Renacci and DeWine were previously opponents — Renacci ran against Attorney General DeWine in the Republican primary for governor before switching gears to pursue a Senate seat. Regardless of any bad blood from that battle, both campaigns now insist that the two are now on the same team.
"Look, there just isn't a story here," Renacci campaign spokeswoman Leslie Shadd told Cleveland.com. "Our campaigns have been working together and holding joint grassroots operations since the primary, including the Super Saturday three days ago. In fact, the congressman and the attorney general were just together at an event with the vice president on Friday."
Why is this an issue?
When Renacci was running against DeWine, he made the state attorney general the target of the same attacks on "career politicians" that he is now using against Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.
During the gubernatorial primary, Renacci accused DeWine of being a career politician who is "only looking out for his next election" and joked that DeWine has been in office since before the original Star Wars movie was released.
Renacci switched races in January, at which time he said he stood by everything he had said about DeWine, and declined to endorse him for governor. Renacci will face two-term senator, Sherrod Brown, in November.
Will this affect the elections?
It's not clear whether Renacci's previous criticisms of DeWine will impact how voters decide in November. While it may have no impact, political science professor Tom Sutton said it could give Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray some ammunition against DeWine.
"Where the blowback could happen would be for the Cordray campaign to turn around and essentially use the exact messaging against DeWine, and quote Renacci and say, 'People from your own party are saying you've been in office for too long,'" Sutton told Cleveland.com. "I think the risk is already laid out, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Cordray folks using some of that."