- Laura A. Bischoff Columbus bureau
The same day Republicans Mike DeWine and Jon Husted announced they’re teaming up in 2018, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor brushed aside all notions that she would drop out of the GOP primary.
“I am in it to win,” Taylor said. “Mike DeWine is the past. And I will fight for Ohio’s future.”
Taylor, who has served as John Kasich’s lieutenant governor for seven years, is the only woman in the primary. Business owner Jim Renacci, who first won a seat on Congress in November 2010, is also still in the race.
Related: Kasich says he backs Taylor in ‘18
Both Renacci and Taylor are positioning themselves as change agents.
“As we’ve said for months, this race will come down to a clear choice between liberal Columbus career politicians and a conservative Columbus outsider in Jim Renacci, who will break up the establishment status quo and put Ohio first,” said Renacci campaign spokesman James Slepian. “And that choice has never been more clear than it is today.”
This means the Ohio GOP still faces the likely scenario of an expensive, bruising primary.
Taylor has proven to be the weakest fundraiser in the GOP race. In the most recent campaign finance reports filed in July, Taylor reported $437,000 in cash on hand while DeWine, Husted and Renacci each reported more than $4.25 million in cash on hand.
DeWine loaned his campaign $1 million days before the reporting deadline while Renacci loaned his campaign $4 million at the end of June.
Taylor said she has a strategy to reach GOP primary voters.
“We opened our campaign account in March. (DeWine and Husted) have been running for governor, essentially since the time they were born. Mike DeWine has been elected in every decade of the last five and Jon Husted has been solely focused on being elected the governor of the state of Ohio,” she said. “I knew when I got into this race they were going to have a money advantage, which is why I have put together a strategic team that is focused on winning the election without having to spend equal money to my opponents.”
Taylor said she is still considering who she’ll pick as her running mate, sidestepping a question about whether she would team up with Renacci as her lieutenant governor.