A Republican donor and businessman on Wednesday announced he’s jumping into the Ohio Senate race, giving GOP front-runner Josh Mandel his first primary challenger ahead of the 2018 race.
Mike Gibbons has never run for political office, but in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he raised concerns over increases in healthcare costs and the country’s tax code.
“All of my friends think I’m crazy,” Gibbons told the newspaper.
“I’m largely running because I have five kids and five grandkids, and I don’t like their prospects and the way things are going.”
Gibbons, a senior managing director at an investment banking firm, is a political newcomer. He’s previously donated to GOP candidates and made a contribution to a super PAC that supported Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign, according to the Plain Dealer.
Gibbons and Mandel are vying for the GOP nomination to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in a state that handily voted for President Trump last November.
Mandel, who currently serves as Ohio state treasurer, is considered the front-runner in the Republican primary. He lost to Brown by six points in the 2012 Senate race.
While it’s still very early in the 2018 cycle, Mandel has already racked up a number of high-profile endorsements, including recent ones from Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a conservative firebrand.
Mandel caught a big break when Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), a Kasich ally, decided to pass on a Senate bid. Kasich, who is term-limited in 2018, has notably said that if Mandel runs a negative campaign, he won’t support him.
But Gibbons isn’t the only Republican who might challenge Mandel. “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance is reportedly being urged to run by leading state GOP activists and donors.
Source: The Hill