With Election Day less than two months away on Nov. 6, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) finds himself caught in the net of the #MeToo movement.
A new PAC called Me Too Ohio launched a TV ad Thursday accusing Brown of physical and emotional abuse against his ex-wife during a messy divorce back in 1986 and is calling on the senator to immediately resign. In 1986 Brown was serving as Ohio Secretary of State.
#MeTooOhio says they are “striving to hold accountable the men who hold on to powerful positions while having a history of domestic violence of women.” The group is demanding Brown immediately resign from his U.S. Senate seat.
“Now, Senator Sherrod Brown is facing his own #MeToo moment from his past,” the ad states. “These court records show sworn evidence that Brown’s ex-wife accused him of abusing her. She said Brown assaulted her. A judge had to issue a restraining order.”
Watch the ad below:
A new poll out Wednesday by Politico suggests Brown currently has a comfortable 16-point lead, 47 percent to 31 percent, over his Republican challenger, Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH-14).
It seems unlikely Brown would resign unless pressured to do so by Democrat Party leaders, and the likelihood of such pressure coming during a bitterly contested midterm election in which Democrats are trying to flip the Senate from Republican control seems even more unlikely.
Still, the ad makes a powerful statement, showing a photo of former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who was forced to resign over allegations of sexual harassment, and asks:
“This senator had to resign when evidence emerged he mistreated women; why is Senator Brown different?”
In 1986, Brown was in the midst of a divorce with his then-wife of seven years, Larke Recchie. According to records on file at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Ohio, Recchie alleged in her divorce complaint that Brown “has been guilty of gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty.”
Recchie sought a restraining order against Brown to keep him from “doing bodily harm” to her. Recchie claimed to be “in fear for the safety and well-being of myself and our children due to [Brown’s] physical violence and abusive nature” and said Brown “intimidated, pushed, shoved and bullied” her on multiple occasions, according to the Daily Caller.
A judge granted a seven-count restraining order against Brown. Recchie would later accused Brown of violating the order and said he “pushed me up against the wall with his arms in order to pass and entered the house.”
This is not the first time the allegations have surfaced and Brown has strenuously denied that he ever hurt his ex-wife.
According to a Columbus Dispatch article from 1989, Recchie again accused her ex-husband of behaving violently. This time, she said, Brown pounded on her door so hard that he broke it and assaulted her new husband, Joseph Recchie. Both Recchies filed police reports but later chose not to press charges.
Recchie has since backtracked on her repeated allegations, saying they were mere “angry words” as part of an “unfriendly” divorce, and the Daily Caller reports that Brown’s current wife says the whole idea that her husband could be abusive is “preposterous.”
While the allegations aren’t new, the #MeToo movement is.
And #MeToo Ohio says the allegations against Brown show a contradiction with his claim that he is a champion for women.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy for him to claim to be an advocate for women with these disturbing charges in his past,” #MeToo Ohio Communications Coordinator Alice Stewart told the Daily Caller. “It’s time to demonstrate, yet again, that women deserve to be believed.”
In 2012, Brown was a strong proponent of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act with additional protections for illegal aliens and LGBT persons.
He accused the “extreme right” of launching a “war on women’s health and economic security,” which is a thinly veiled attack on the pro-life community. Brown’s campaigns are routinely funded by the most ardent abortion-backers, including the infamous late-term abortionist Dr. Martin Haskell, as reported Wednesday by The Ohio Star.
Me Too Ohio issued the following tweet about Brown Thursday:
It’s Senator Sherrod Brown’s “Me Too” moment. From a sworn affidavit and restraining order, his ex-wife has shown the abuse she faced. Push out Senator Brown so he can’t push anyone else. #MeTooOhio https://t.co/ESneBGRe1f
— Me Too Ohio (@MeTooOhio18) September 13, 2018
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.