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The Columbus Dispatch Endorses Sherrod Brown

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The Columbus Dispatch Endorses Sherrod Brown

Columbus Dispatch: Editorial Endorsement: For US Senate: Keep Sherrod Brown working for Ohioans

Editorial Board—September 24, 2018

In Ohio’s contentious race for U.S. Senate, we support the proven performance of Sherrod Brown, Ohio’s Democratic senior senator, as worthy of a third six-year term.

Jim Renacci, a Republican U.S. representative from Wadsworth and self-described “turn-around business guy,” would like to turn Brown out. We see no need to oust a proven leader, one of Ohio’s longest-serving elected officials.

Brown, 65, has a focus and work ethic that has enabled him to build credibility and support in Congress that has served the state well. He is the first Ohio senator to serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in decades and is on the 2018 farm bill conference committee — key positions in a state where agriculture is a top industry.

The Mansfield native and Cleveland resident also has developed expertise in banking and finance issues, serving as the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and ranking member of the finance committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy. He also serves on the veterans’ affairs committee and co-chairs the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans.

In that latter capacity, the joint committee Brown helped to create will soon seek a critical vote on a proposal to prevent a potentially catastrophic failure of union pension funds impacting some 10 million Americans, including an estimated 66,000 Ohioans. Failure of the pension funds has been identified as a $101 billion liability, but Brown creatively proposes a loan program to preserve retirees’ pensions with no taxpayer support and at less than half the $78 billion price tag estimated if taxpayers were asked to prop up the funds.

That Rob Portman, Ohio’s junior Republican senator, is also working on the joint select pension committee demonstrates Brown’s ability to work in bipartisan fashion for the best interests of Ohioans. It is one of multiple efforts they have worked on together.

Brown’s political career began in the Ohio General Assembly, where he served four House terms from 1974 to 1982. He also served two terms as Ohio secretary of state, seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and two terms in the U.S. Senate.

Renacci, 59, is an Ohio transplant who moved from western Pennsylvania 35 years ago. He is a former auto dealership owner who likes to talk about how he has created 60 businesses in health and nursing care, among other interests including arena football. He has done well, considering he is ranked Ohio’s wealthiest member of Congress with $34 million in assets. He is also a supporter of President Donald Trump and his policies, including tax cuts and building a southern border wall.

Both Brown and Renacci have gone negative and dredged up old issues from past campaigns, but Renacci’s call for Brown to resign because of a domestic-abuse allegation from his 1987 divorce is especially repugnant. It’s bad enough that Renacci tries to ride #MeToo coattails from the decades-old divorce while ignoring the fact that Brown’s ex-wife has supported all his Senate bids. Making it worse is that Renacci gives Trump a pass for similar divorce allegations as well as multiple sexual-misconduct claims from other women.

We prefer to keep Sherrod Brown working for Ohio in the U.S. Senate.