In congressional campaigns across the country, GOP candidates are running ads tying the Democratic incumbent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. One such candidate is Jim Renacci, who made headlines most recently when he told an African-American constituent that he wants to “get our federal government out of the way” on civil rights.
ThinkProgress caught up with Renacci, who is running against Rep. John Boccieri (D-OH) in Ohio’s 16th congressional district, at a town hall in North Canton this week. Renacci repeatedly levied the charge that Boccieri has voted with Pelosi 94 percent of the time. Therefore, since Renacci made a point that independence from one’s party leader was prized in the district, we asked him to give us one or two issues where he would break with a Speaker John Boehner.
Renacci could not name even a single issue where he would show independence from the Republican Party. Right after chastising Boccieri for voting “lock-step” with Speaker Pelosi, Renacci dismissed how his voting record would compare to a Speaker Boehner, declaring “it isn’t voting with John Boehner, it’s voting ‘no’ for the constituents of the 16th district.”
TP: I guess one question that voters might have is if you’ve criticized Mr. Boccieri for voting with Nancy Pelosi 94 percent of the time, can you name an issue or two where you would break with John Boehner if he were to become Speaker?
RENACCI: Well, I think those issues will come forward in the future, but what I would always say in the past is that I would vote ‘no’ on a lot of these bills because they deserved a ‘no’ vote. It isn’t voting with John Boehner, it’s voting ‘no’ for the constituents of the 16th district.
TP: I believe the gentleman right here had mentioned a middle-of-the-road approach that’s best for legislating from this country. Are there any examples that you can give us of areas that you might break with your party, areas where you would show independence from your party?
RENACCI: If our party, if the Republican Party, does things that do not allow jobs to be created, if they do things that do not represent the 16th district, I would break vote with those. We need to worry about jobs and the economy. But at this point in time, I think the Democratic Party is doing that and that’s why there are so many ‘no’ votes.
Watch the exchange here: