The ad resuscitates charges made in 2012 by Senate Republican candidate Josh Mandel in his unsuccessful race against Brown.
The Brown campaign, which long anticipated Republicans would attempt to inject his first marriage into the race, released a statement from Larke Recchie saying “this isn’t the first time someone has gone after my family to score cheap political points.”
“I’m dismayed that Congressman Renacci would do something this shameless, despite the fact that I’ve already addressed this matter,” Recchie said.
“I was proud to support Sherrod in 2006 and 2012 — just as I am this time around,” she said. “Anyone who suggests he is not an honorable man is just wrong.”
“He’s a great father to our daughters Emily and Liz and he’s a wonderful grandfather to our grandchildren,” she said. “Disparaging my family for political gain is disgusting, and Congressman Renacci should know better.”
Recchie and her husband Joe held a fund-raiser in their central Ohio home last weekend for Brown’s re–election campaign.
Brett Buerck, a former Ohio Republican Party official who heads up Majority Strategies, a political consulting firm in Florida, acknowledged his company “is serving as the digital and direct mail consultant for” MeTooOhio.
“The focus here needs to be on Sherrod Brown’s actions, not who the vendors are on a project,” Buerck said in a statement. “Relegating this to a process story about campaign operations diminishes the important stories victims of domestic violence have a right to tell."
Majority Strategies has done printing and production work for Renacci’s Senate campaign. Asked about their involvement in the ad, a spokesman for Majority Strategies said the organization’s long-standing policy is not to confirm or deny any media requests.
The commercial was unveiled at a time when the Renacci campaign is floundering. Renacci is being badly outspent in TV commercials by Brown, who is seeking his third term in the Senate. In addition, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has declined so far to endorse Renacci, who is an enthusiastic supporter of President Donald Trump.
Even though little money was spent on the commercial, the clear aim by Republicans was to encourage news organizations to write about Brown’s first marriage in an effort to damage his re-election prospects.
Leslie Shedd, a spokeswoman for the Renacci campaign, said to her “knowledge Larke has not refuted her allegations. There is a difference between forgiving someone and recanting statement you have made under oath.”
However when Republicans used the same charges against Brown in a 1992 House race, Recchie was quoted as saying: “Divorce can often be an unfriendly ordeal, and ours was no exception. There was a lot of hurt on both sides, and it led only to angry words.”
Records from the 1986 divorce stand in stark contrast to a Tweet posted by Recchie from April 27 of this year: It shows Recchie and her husband Joe and Brown and his wife Connie Schultz in a raucous group shot on Grandparents Day at one of the grandchildren's school. "So much fun!" she tweeted of the photo, which was a retweet of a photo Schultz had posted.
The commercial included video of comedian Chelsea Handler saying "every victim deserves to be heard." Handler tweeted: Hey Congressman Renacci -- please don't use me in attack ads against candidates I support."
Dayton hosting first governor debate
Questions: What questions do you have for the governor candidates? Send them to us on our Ohio Politics Facebook page or email them to email@example.com
How to watch: You can watch the Sept. 19 debate with Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray live at 7 p.m. on WHIO-TV Channel 7. You can also stream it on our newspaper web site.
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Post debate recap: Watch a special debate post-show on WHIO.com and DaytonDailyNews.com Sept. 19 starting at 8 p.m.
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