The senior advisor for former congressman James B. “Jim” Renacci told The Star News Network that the March 28-conducted Harris poll of 1,342 Ohio Republican voters showed Renacci leading Gov. R. Michael DeWine with 46 percent support compared to the governor’s 30 percent, just over a month before the May 3 GOP primary.
“That recent Harris poll actually corroborates some massive internal data that we’ve collected over the last week or so with our phone banking operations,” said Tom Weyand, who is helming the former congressman’s campaign.
“We brought in 165,000 in-person responses, and we’re actually polling a little bit ahead of what that poll said, but it’s a snapshot in history,” he said. “It’s definitely showing how the voters are moving in this race as we get down to the wire here, before the primary.”
Weyand said that DeWine had been held to a 40 percent ceiling throughout the campaign, according to Renacci’s campaign’s own polling and analysis.
“I think polling-wise, you just see DeWine is, regardless of what polling you see, you’re seeing DeWine never reaching above 40 percent in pretty much any poll you’ve seen in the last 11 months. This last one actually shows him well below 40 percent.”
In the topline comparison, farmer Joe Blystone is the choice of 20 percent, followed by Ron Hood at 4 percent.
Renacci said the poll reflects what he sees as he campaigns across the state.
“Between Mike DeWine putting Critical Race Theory backers on the state school board, his mandates that shuttered our economy and masked our kids, and his abysmal embrace of open borders on immigration – it’s clear why he’s a dream come true for Joe Biden and the far left,” he said.
“He’s a nightmare for Ohio families, and now he’s paying the price,” he said.
“As governor, I’ll ban CRT and mask mandates, give parents their rightful control of their children’s education, end Ohio’s job-killing tax policies and red tape – and deliver the accountable conservative leadership we need and deserve,” he said.
The Harris Poll company executed the poll with a population of 9,657 GOP voters, which it sized to 1,342 to create a sample population matching a proprietary voting model. The poll carries a margin of error of 1 percent.
The Committee for a Better Ohio commissioned the poll, and it is posted on its Facebook page.
Weyand said the Renacci campaign’s data lines up with the Harris poll results.
“It’s corroborating what we’re seeing with our internal data,” he said. “It’s nice to see an independent poll out there that actually had a fairly decent sample size, looks very legitimate through Harris, and it’s showing that DeWine’s in big trouble.”
In addition to lousy polling data for DeWine, the governor’s near-miss at February’s meeting of the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee showed in real-life how soft the governor’s support is.
“I think the secret ballot exposed what was really happening,” he said about the secret ballot vote to have to committee-endorse the whole slate of statewide incumbent GOP officeholders.
“If you look at that vote, we’re not really a campaign to go look to the past, but if you look at that vote, Mike DeWine was five votes away from costing the entire slate the endorsement,” he said.
“If five votes went another way, no incumbents were being endorsed, so it was very telling,” the campaign manager said. “There was definitely not a mandate there for the governor, and I think these polling numbers are showing that now.”
Weyand said another real-life data point is the decision by the Cuyahoga County Republican Party to endorse Renacci after their leadership pushed for DeWine.
“I was at the meeting. Jim was there. The governor was there. Both the governor and Jim spoke,” he said.
“There’s a process in Cuyahoga County,” Weyand said. “They have a scanning committee that interviews the candidates. They came out of scanning at the meeting on Saturday and recommended full endorsement for Governor DeWine.”
Despite the push from their leadership, the Cuyahoga Republicans had other plans, he said.
“There was a motion made to replace Governor DeWine’s name with Jim Renacci’s name. And after a couple of votes, that ended up passing with a 67 percent majority, so the second-largest voting Republican primary county in the state rejected the establishment – they rejected Mike DeWine.”
Once the governor and his staff realized they were going to take a loss, they bolted, he said. “He was there for a little bit, and as he was realizing that it wasn’t going his way, they swooped him out.”
The vote to endorse Renacci was 124-73, he said.
This was not some deep red, rural district, Weyand said. The county is the state’s second-most populous and includes Cleveland.
“Overall voting-wise, it’s a pretty deep county that is starting to shift a little bit as you get out into some of these suburbs,” he said.
“The school boards, the councils of some of these communities are flipping a Republican majority,” he said.
“I think more importantly, traditionally, they stuck with the establishment, and that definitely was not the case on Saturday.”
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Neil W. McCabe is the national political editor of The Star News Network based in Washington. He is an Army Reserve public affairs NCO and an Iraq War veteran. Send him news tips: [email protected] Follow him on TruthSocial & GETTR: @ReporterMcCabe
Photo “Jim Renacci” by Jim Renacci.