U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, was the featured speaker Saturday night at the Medina County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day celebration and fundraiser, and he didn’t surprise the audience with a presidential endorsement during his remarks.
“I’m a big process person,” Renacci said before his speech to 150 attendees at a banquet at Williams on the Lake in Medina. “We have to wait for the system to work itself out.”
He was referring to the presidential primaries being held across the nation Tuesday that include Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri.
The primary results lead to the accumulation of delegates pledged to presidential candidates who then will cast votes for the eventual nominee at the party’s convention July 18-21 in Cleveland.
In recent weeks as businessman Donald Trump has won primaries and established himself as the front-runner, some Republican officials and analysts have expressed concern about giving him support.
Trump is being challenged by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
But Renacci didn’t waver.
“If it’s Trump, it’s Trump,” he told The Gazette. “I think it’s important to respect the process.”
Renacci also said there was no reason to overreact to Trump rallies that became controversial in recent days with physical confrontations between Trump supporters and protesters.
A Trump rally planned for Chicago on Friday night was canceled. In the Dayton area Saturday, security officials briefly surrounded Trump on a riser at the podium when it appeared someone from the audience was attempting to climb onstage.
“People are frustrated with Washington and the system. There’s friction at all political rallies,” Renacci said. “I don’t see it as abnormal.
“There’s just so much more media today. You go back in history and study elections such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They hated each other,” Renacci said.
Renacci said his speech for the Medina audience would include a message about the topics of “process, leadership and success.”
He said that is what he’s been working on bringing to Washington after five years of public service, following a 28-year career in private business.
It appeared that few, if any, of the guests had attended the Trump rally earlier in the day at the I-X Center in Brook Park.
Nancy Abbott, the county party chair, said she spent time Saturday campaigning by using an electronic system to know exactly which homes had party supporters living there.
She said she was pleased with the attendance of 150 and noted that “new people like to get involved. They want to learn what it takes and what the offices are about.”