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GOP governor candidate Jim Renacci picks Cincinnati councilwoman as his running mate

Republican candidate for governor U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci announced Monday that Cincinnati Councilwoman Amy Murray will be his running mate in the 2018 GOP primary.

“I think the real key is ‘back to business, not business as usual,’” said Renacci in announcing Murray as part of his team.

He made the announcement at a news conference in Cincinnati, and held a second event later in the day in Cleveland.

“People always say they want a choice and, guess what, we are offering a choice this year,” Murray said.

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Murray was elected to city council in 2013. She founded Japan Consulting Group after a 15-year career at Procter & Gamble, according to information provided by the campaign.

Murray said she offers geographic diversity to the ticket and said women talk about the opioid crisis differently then men. She said she admires Renacci for “his ethics, his character and his leadership.”

RELATED: DeWine-Husted ticket called governor’s race ‘dream team’ by GOP state senator

“He’s just like us. He started a job, worked his way up and became successful,” Murray said.

Renacci called Murray a “conservative, pro-life, pro-second amendment businesswoman.”

“She is not a politician and has created jobs for someone other than herself,” Renacci said.

Renacci said he wants “Ohio to be first. Not in opioid addiction or college debt” but as a place people can get a job and want to live.

Renacci, who touted his support of President Donald Trump, called himself an “outsider” in the race.

“When you start out poor, as I did, you are always the underdog,” Renacci said.

Renacci was born near Pittsburgh. His father was a railroad worker and his mother a nurse.

Renacci, a businessman and former Wadsworth mayor who has been in Congress since 2011, is now one of the 15 richest congressman in the country, according to his 2016 financial disclosure forms. Renacci, who has owned about 60 companies lists his assets as ranging from $34 million to $94 million.

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The other candidates on the Republican side include Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate, Secretary of State Jon Husted, who dropped his own bid for governor and teamed up with DeWine.

“We welcome Councilwoman Murray to the race and look forward to engaging her and Congressman Renacci on the issues in an honest and professional manner,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, spokesman for the DeWine/Husted campaign.

Taylor’s spokesman did not comment by press time.

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said Renacci and the other GOP candidates are staking out extremist positions in the primary that will hurt them in the General Election.

“Today’s announcement is only further evidence that Mike DeWine and Jon Husted teaming up did nothing to stop the nasty, divisive primary on the GOP side,” said Pepper “Keep in mind — for the past six months, the entire Republican field has been running far to the right, trying to be the ‘Trumpiest’ candidate, while running away from their fellow Republican, Gov. John Kasich.”

The Democrats running for governor are Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Youngstown; former Congresswoman Betty Sutton; former Cincinnati area state Rep. Connie Pillich, former Attorney General and Treasurer Richard Cordray and Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill.

The primary is May 8 and the General Election is Nov. 6.

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