Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci, a U.S. congressman from the 16th District, will appear at a meeting of the Highland County Tea Party Monday, marking yet another visit to Hillsboro by one of the GOP candidates for the state’s highest office in the 2018 election.
In May, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine spoke at the Memorial Day services in Hillsboro, and over the weekend Jon Husted, Ohio’s secretary of state, was featured at the county GOP’s picnic.
After Monday’s event, the only Republican candidate yet to visit Hillsboro since declaring as a candidate will be Mary Taylor, the state’s lieutenant governor.
Paulette Donley, chair of the county GOP, said Thursday that the visits by the candidates are good for local voters.
“We’ll get a chance to see them all, for anyone interested,” she said.
Candidates so far on the Democratic Party side are Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, former state Rep. Connie Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and former Wayne County commissioner Dave Kiefer.
So far, none have visited Highland County, but that’s in part because the county’s party chair is being cautious about inviting them.
Dinah Phillips, chair of the Highland County Democratic Party, is one of just a handful of party officials who are part of the state party’s vetting committee for the endorsement of the next gubernatorial candidate. As such, she’s supposed to remain neutral.
Plus, Phillips said, there are ongoing rumblings that others like Jerry Springer, the former talk show host, Cincinnati TV newscaster and mayor of Cincinnati, and Richard Cordray, former state attorney general, state treasurer and current director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are considering entering the race.
Gov. John Kasich is term-limited and will leave office after next year.
The Tea Party meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday at the Hi-Tec Center in Hillsboro.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.