Rep. Jim Renacci is trailing Sen. Sherrod Brown by double digits in the Ohio Senate race, and some Republican observers are wondering when he’s going to start using television advertising to jump-start his campaign, according to Cleveland.com.
The representative from Wadsworth, Ohio, was handpicked by President Donald Trump’s political team to go after Brown’s seat, but with his chances seemingly slipping away Republicans are eager for him to pull out the big guns before it’s too late.
“Let me be clear,” said Nick Everhart, an Ohio Republican political strategist, to Cleveland.com. “In 2018,you absolutely are not going to win a tier-one U.S. Senate campaign against anyone in the country, let alone as tough a political candidate as Sherrod Brown without using the most powerful communication and advertising tool on earth — paid TV.”
Where are the ads?
Brown, evidently understanding the seriousness of the challenge from Renacci after Trump won Ohio in 2016, has spent freely on television and radio ads — roughly 25 times more than Renacci has in the time since the May primary.
Brown has spent $12.5 million since May, compared to only $481,000 from Renacci (which paid for ads that ran in June statewide). In 2012, Josh Mandel spent $12 million on broadcast ads in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Brown.
State Republicans can’t figure out what Renacci’s strategy is by spending so little on ads.
“Jim’s good on social media,” Republican lobbyist Mike Gonidakis told Cleveland.com. “Jim’s good on getting around the state. But I can tell you that many people in the social conservative movement have asked me directly, ‘How come we haven’t seen Jim on TV?’ I don’t have an answer to tell them. But I think it’s noticed far and wide.”
Renacci is a wealthy man who has largely self-financed his campaign, and spokeswoman Leslie Shedd told Cleveland.com that the campaign “has the resources we need to win in November.”
However, time is running short, and Ohio Republicans are looking for Renacci to make a move late in the game to push Brown.
“I think a lot of people are concerned that the numbers are not narrowing,” Weaver said. “The closer we get to early voting, the more troubling it is.”