Jones was being courted because Mandel, who had been in the race for a year, dropped out. He wrote in a letter to friends and family that his wife, Ilana, has a health issue that will require him being there for her and their three children.
For now, Cleveland investment banker Mike Gibbons is the front-runner for the GOP primary this May.
RELATED: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author Vance courted for U.S. Senate bid
But others are being considered for the race, including Middletown native and "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, who last year said he wasn't going to run. However, Politico is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is trying to encourage him into running. If Vance enters the race, McConnell has said he would prioritize Ohio's U.S. Senate race, according to Politico. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is trying to court U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, to run for U.S. Senate, according to the political news agency.
Brown is one of 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election this November. Republicans hold a narrow lead in the U.S. Senate. There are 51 Republican senators to 49 Democratic senators.
As for whom Jones would support for U.S. Senate, he’s not certain yet.
“I don’t know who I’m going to support,” said Jones, who just this week endorsed Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for governor. “I don’t know who all is in the race.”
He said Gibbons had called him, but no one else. The filing deadline for the race is Feb. 7.
When asked if he’d support Vance, he said he’s briefly met him previously but has never talked with him at length.
“I have to wait to see if he’s interested,” said Jones. “I don’t know what he stands for. I know what Gibbons stands for. I know he wrote a book about growing up being a hillbilly. I don’t know if that’s enough for me. I’m going to take a little bit of time and see what I can come up with.”