Democrat Sherrod Brown will remain Ohio’s senior U.S. senator.
Brown coasted to reelection to a third term over his Republican opponent, Jim Renacci, Tuesday night.
The polls closed at 7:30 p.m. and by 8:13 all the major networks called the race for Brown.
With nearly 2.2 million votes cast, Brown had tallied 53 percent, compared to 47 percent for Renacci.
Renacci issued a concession to the media at 8:56 p.m. that read as follows:
I want to thank all of my supporters, volunteers, staff — everyone who helped our campaign. Things may not have gone as we wanted tonight, but I hope that you will continue fighting for the things you believe in. I wish Senator Brown the best in his efforts to support all Ohioans.”
Following his loss, Renacci called out Gov. John Kasich for not supporting President Trump, saying it “caused divisions.” Renacci said these divisions mark the biggest issue that needs to be changed among Ohio Republicans.
In the end, President Trump’s endorsement was not enough to offset Brown’s massive fundraising advantage. Brown blanketed the airwaves with ads, many of them negative, early in the race and before Renacci was able to define himself, it appeared he had already been defined by his Democrat opponent.
Although Renacci seemed to hold his own in three debates between the two candidates, he said in a Cleveland radio interview he could not afford to fight Brown on the television airwaves.
Brown, 65, raised $27.7 million for the race compared to $7.7 million for Renacci. The incumbent reportedly spent in excess of $13 million on TV ads alone.
Renacci, a 59-year-old CPA and successful businessman who has served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives serving Ohio’s 16th congressional district, won high praise from President Trump, who called him a “great human being,” as well as “tough” and a hard worker at the Trump rally on Monday.
Renacci concentrated his message on the strong economy that has taken hold in Ohio over the past year. The state has created more jobs over the past year than in any 12-month period over the last 21 years.
Renacci also hit Brown on his past indiscretions with women, including an accusation of spousal abuse during Brown’s messy divorce back in the late 1980s. But Brown’s ex-wife came to his defense and appeared in an ad that Renacci should stop the “attacks” on the senator’s family.
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.