Campaign

Businessman Mike Gibbons jumps into GOP Senate race in Ohio

Mike Gibbons, an investment banker who helped lead former President Trump's fundraising efforts in Ohio in 2016, jumped into the state's Senate race on Tuesday, joining an increasingly crowded field of Republicans vying to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

"I've achieved my American Dream. I'm running for Senate to help more people achieve their American Dreams," Gibbons said in a statement.

"I'm a businessman, not a politician. I'm blunt, plain-spoken, and I tell it like it is. I'm running for Senate because this isn't the time for career politicians or party insiders. The last thing we need is another go-along-to-get-along rubber stamp in Washington," he said.

Gibbons has been expected for months to mount a Senate campaign in Ohio. He stepped down from his role at the conservative super PAC he founded in 2019 earlier this year, signaling that a final decision on a Senate bid was imminent. 

After that, he embarked on a statewide "listening tour" of Ohio. 

In jumping into the Senate race, Gibbons, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Senate nomination in Ohio in 2018, joins a handful of candidates already competing for the GOP nod to replace Portman, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Among the other hopefuls are former Ohio state GOP Chairman Jane Timken, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and businessman Bernie Moreno. 

He also joins a field of GOP candidates jockeying for Trump's support. The former president's endorsement would likely be a kingmaker in the Republican field, given his sustained popularity among conservatives and the fact that he carried Ohio in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

No Democrat has formally entered the race yet, though Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is widely expected to make a run for the seat, while state House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes has also expressed interest. 

Former Ohio Health Department Director Amy Acton, whom several prominent Democratic operatives had sought to recruit into the race, announced last week that she would not mount a Senate bid.

A longtime swing state, Ohio has drifted to the right in recent years. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who won reelection in 2018, now stands as the only Democrat serving in statewide elected office.

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