Gibbons Joins Crowded Republican Primary for Ohio Senate Seat

Ohio businessman Mike Gibbons is joining the crowded Republican field for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman in a 2022 primary contest dominated so far by the effort to show who’s most supportive of Donald Trump.

Gibbons, 69, who started a business at age 37 that became the investment bank and financial advisory firm Brown Gibbons Lang & Company, announced his candidacy on Tuesday saying he’ll bring a plain-spoken approach to Congress.

Gibbons Joins Crowded Republican Primary for Ohio Senate Seat

“This isn’t the time for career politicians or insiders,” Gibbons said in a video announcing his bid. “The last thing we need is another rubber stamp in Washington.”

Three other candidates have already declared for the Republican primary next year, and others are considering it. Josh Mandel, a former Ohio treasurer; Jane Timken, a former Ohio Republican Party chairwoman; and Bernie Moreno, a car dealership owner and chairman of the blockchain technology company Ownum have all announced they are running.

Other Ohio Republicans considering the race include Representative Mike Turner, Representative Steve Stivers and venture capitalist J.D. Vance, who has support from technology billionaire Peter Thiel.

Mandel and Timken in particular have been trying to outdo each other as the strongest supporter of Trump and his “America First” agenda as the candidates vie for his endorsement. Politico reported that Mandel, Timken, Gibbons and Moreno met privately with the former president at a fundraiser last month at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to discuss the race.

Gibbons, who captured 32% of the vote in a second-place finish in the 2018 Republican primary for the Senate as a first-time candidate, notes that he served as Ohio finance co-chairman for Trump’s 2016 campaign and contributed to him in 2020. He said in his announcement video that “the left is working around the clock to destroy everything President Trump accomplished during his time in office.”

Potential Democratic candidates include U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, who ran for the presidential nomination in 2020. Amy Acton, the former Ohio health director who gained notice for her role in responding to the coronavirus pandemic last year, announced last week that she won’t be a candidate.

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