Democrat Sherrod Brown retained his Senate seat defeating Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci with 59 percent of the vote to Renacci’s 39 percent, according to unofficial results.
Brown’s win comes after a race that was never considered particularly close. Polling since March showed Brown ahead by as many as 18 points and never fewer than 6. FiveThirtyEight’s model — which takes into account polling as well as factors such as fundraising, national trends and historical trends — for forecasting Senate races showed Brown with over a 96 percent chance to keep his seat on Tuesday.
“This is our America: we will never give up the hallowed ground of patriotism to the extremists,” Brown said in his victory speech. “I repeat. We will never ever give up the hallowed ground of patriotism to the extremists — at the Statehouse and in the White House.”
Brown ran on a familiar platform he has followed throughout his career: populist economic stances that include opposing free trade deals and standing up for the working class.
Renacci, for his part ran, on a message of cementing conservative victories that have taken place since President Donald Trump took office in 2016, including tax cuts and conservative justices being appointed to the Supreme Court.
“It’s not a huge surprise, given Brown’s popularity and Renacci’s very low name recognition,” said Nick Frankowski, president of Ohio State College Republicans, in response to Renacci’s defeat. “He ran a good race, but it was always an uphill battle against Sherrod Brown.”
Renacci was never expected to be the Republican candidate. Most insiders had been gearing up for a showdown between Brown and State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who was expected to give Brown a run for his money.
Mandel pulled out of the Senate race in January due to his wife’s health concerns and Renacci was called upon by Trump’s team to drop his bid in the Ohio Republican gubernatorial primary to throw his hat in the ring to challenge Brown.
Renacci’s hopes to catch Brown took a turn for the worse in late September when a story broke about his use of a strip club owner’s private plane for campaign trips.
Struggling for traction, Renacci was criticized late in the race when he accused Brown of domestic abuse, claims which Brown’s ex-wife publicly denied.
“Congressman Renacci’s failed and desperate campaign gets worse every day,” Brown’s campaign said in a statement regarding Renacci’s accusation.
Brown’s victory secures him his third term in the Senate where he has called himself a Senator that fights for working families in Ohio that have been left behind as well as a fighter for an economy that rewards hard work.