Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Ohio) announced Thursday he will be dropping his bid for governor in the Buckeye State to run instead for the Senate against incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio).
Renacci met with officials at the White House on Wednesday following Republican Josh Mandel ending his bid against Brown due to health concerns surrounding his wife, The Hill reports. The 59-year-old announced on AM 1420 "The Answer" in Cleveland that it was time to "put country first—and try to get things done in the Senate."
"I now realize after meeting with the White House yesterday I really need to put country first and answer the call to action to serve our nation and come back to try and fight for the Trump agenda and try to get things done in the Senate," Renacci said.
He credited Trump with encouraging him to take a shot at Brown's Senate seat.
"When the president and the administration calls you to action, it was a pretty compelling moment for me. So this morning I announce that, after speaking to my family and my advisers and my supporters, I've announced that I am going to switch and answer the call of the president, help the president in his quest to try to change Washington and I'm going to run against Sherrod Brown," Renacci said.
Renacci, who has served in Congress since 2011, will be joining wealthy businessman Mike Gibbons in seeking the Republican nomination. Gibbons has pledged $5 million to his campaign and continues to gain local endorsements.
Candidates interested in entering the race have until the Feb. 7 deadline.
J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, is among those still considering a run for the Republican ticket. Donors have encouraged Vance to run, and he met with Republicans in Washington, D.C. this week. Those he met with include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), reportedly to discuss a potential run.
State treasurer Josh Mandel, who was considered the frontrunner for the nomination, dropped out of the race last week. Former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel, who was reported to have been considering a run, also said Thursday he would not run.
Ranacci said he's raised and spent a great deal of money on his bid for governor, but said he will still do "whatever is necessary" to win the Senate race.
The winner of the Ohio primary on May 8 will face Brown, who has held the seat since 2007.