He is a candidate in the Republican Party primary for Governor of Ohio in the 2018 election.
James Renacci was born December 3, 1958, in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. Renacci’s father was a railroad worker and his mother was a nurse. Renacci earned a degree in business administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and became a Certified Public Accountant and financial advisor.
In 2012, The Christian Science Monitor included Renacci in its list of the 10 richest members of Congress. As of 2010, it was estimated that Renacci was worth between $35 and $100 million and made salary, interest and other income of between $500,000 and $4.3 million in 2008 and 2009. In June 2006, the Ohio Department of Taxation assessed Renacci $1.4 million in back taxes, interest and penalties for disclosed but unreported year 2000 income. Renacci stated that the dispute stemmed from a change in Ohio tax policy which he disputed. He and his wife paid the State of Ohio more than $1.3 million, along with approximately another 1000 Ohio citizens who also fought the dispute. In June 2016, the Renacci's won their case against the State of Ohio (represented by Attorney General Mike DeWine) after appealing it to the Ohio Surpreme Court. The court's unanimous decision affirmed they had properly appealed the tax assessment in June 2006.
In 2003, Renacci formed the LTC Companies group, a financial consulting service which included a partial ownership of three Harley-Davidson dealerships in Columbus, the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in Columbus, and Renacci-Doraty Chevrolet in Wadsworth.
Renacci and LTC owned, operated and managed over 60 businesses, employed approximately 3000 people and created over 1500 jobs. Over his 30 years in business, his companies have been a party in multiple legal cases, including two wrongful death suits related to Renacci's nursing home business, and a complaint filed by more than a half-dozen temporary employees alleging they were not paid for work they did for Renacci's medical billing firm. In all cases, Renacci either settled out of court or the case was dismissed.
Renacci became a partner and managing board member of the former Arena Football League's Columbus Destroyers. The team finished the 2007 season as the AFL Eastern Conference Champions with Renacci as President and General Manager. Renacci also served as AFL Executive Committee Vice Chairman and is a partial owner of the Lancaster JetHawks, a minor league baseball team.2010
Renacci announced on August 24, 2009 that he would run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Ohio's 16th district, officially filing on January 11, 2010. Renacci ran as a "Contender" of the National Republican Congressional Committee in its "Young Guns" program. Renacci defeated Democratic incumbent John Boccieri by 52% to 41% with 7% of the vote going to Libertarian candidate Jeffrey Blevins.
In a town hall meeting in Canton, in September 2010, Renacci was accused of stating that civil rights issues should be addressed by local governments, stating that the solution is "to get our federal government out of the way" because "it's not the federal government's job". But a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor who was at the event noted Renacci's words were twisted by a reference to the blight in local communities.2012
The Plain Dealer reported in September 2011 that the new district map of Ohio would place Congressman Betty Sutton in “a Republican leaning district that's being constructed to favor Renacci.” In December, Sutton filed to run against Renacci. Later that month, Roll Call reported that a poll taken at least two months earlier showed the two congress members “neck and neck at 45 percent.” On the Washington Post's list of top 10 House races in 2012, Sutton's was at #8. Renacci defeated Sutton by a 52% to 48% margin on Election Day.
In May 2012, a Renacci campaign contributor was the subject of a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into $100,000 of campaign contributions made by employees of an Ohio-based direct marketing corporation, Suarez Corporation Industries, to Renacci's campaign. Many of the non-executive employees had never donated to a campaign before and owned modest homes, yet were reported as donating the maximum legal amount of $5,000 to Renacci. The investigation was sparked by prior Toledo Blade reports of the alleged violations of federal campaign finance law prohibiting a donor from contributing in another's name and prohibiting a corporation from using bonuses or other methods of reimbursing employees for their contributions. Renacci’s campaign returned all of the donations, and it was later determined in a Cleveland court that the contributors did not violate federal law.
As of January 2017, several news sources had reported that Renacci was considering running for governor of Ohio in 2018. Politico reported that "as a wealthy auto dealer prior to being elected to Congress, Renacci would potentially be able to self-fund a statewide bid." On March 21, 2017, Renacci announced his intension to run for the Republican nomination to be Governor of the State of Ohio in 2018.
Renacci was ranked as the 46th most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress (and the third most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party).House Ways and Means CommitteeSubcommittee on Select Revenue Measures
Subcommittee on Social Security
United States House Budget Committee
In the 112th congress, Renacci served on the Committee on Financial Services, as vice chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, and a member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Rep. Renacci has been a member of the following caucuses in the 112th and 113th CongressesRepublican Study Committee
Congressional Coal Caucus
Congressional Steel Caucus
Congressional CPA Caucus
General Aviation Caucus
Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Caucus
Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus (113th only)