Johnson Pushes Back on Kasich Role in Picking Senate Nominee

Johnson Pushes Back on Kasich Role in Picking Senate Nominee

Youngstown Business Journal, February 2, 2021

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, released a new radio ad Monday focusing on the question of who should represent Ohioans in the U.S. Senate following incumbent U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection next year.

The ad, according to a release from Johnson’s campaign, highlights media reports that former Ohio Gov. John Kasich is “privately plotting to determine who the Republican candidates should be.”

In the ad, Johnson, R-6 Ohio, says Kasich wants to pick Ohio’s next senator and is “chatting up Wall Street elites, like the tycoons who think they decide who can invest in the stock market” and “talking to big tech elites – like the ones shutting down your social media if they disagree with you.”

The congressman isn’t surprised, he continued. “The last time I heard from John Kasich, he was speaking to another group of elitists – the Democrat National Convention.”

Johnson is among several current and former GOP officials who have expressed interest in the seat.

Also mulling a bid is U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, whose interest in the race was the subject of reports Monday in the New York Times and Politico. Among those who have expressed support for a Ryan candidacy for the seat is 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“People are enthusiastically encouraging me to run for Senate,” Johnson said in the release announcing the radio ad. “Folks want a leader who’ll take on the entrenched Washington interests that have become roadblocks to success for Ohio families and businesses.”

The statement links to a CNBC story reporting that Ohio power brokers are reaching out to business leaders across the state to encourage them to run for Portman’s seat to prevent a candidate aligned with former President Donald Trump from winning. Those engaging with potential candidates include business types and donors close to Kasich, a prominent Trump critic.

“The Republican Party is used to attacks from Democrats and many in the media, but now we’re seeing threats from within,” Johnson said after releasing the spot. “Our best path forward is to listen to rank and file Ohio voters – not the elites and their apologists.”

The spot is the latest in a series of radio ads that began running in January that Johnson said allow him “him to remove the filter and bypass those seeking to censor conservative political speech.”