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Top Ohio Republicans are name-checking former Ohio State University head football coach Jim Tressel as they search for a new consensus candidate challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown this year.
Tressel, the president of Youngstown State University, near Cleveland, has become a top GOP recruit. So has author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance, as dissatisfaction with Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, a wealthy investment banker, lingers after Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel's unexpected withdrawal from the race.
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"Jim Tressel is welcome pretty much wherever he goes in Ohio," said Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio.
"Obviously, he's had the opportunity now to run some universities, so he's certainly got football team management and now university management under his belt. He's obviously a great campaigner because you've got to work hard to recruit young talent against everybody else," Joyce said. "Tressel's certainly an interesting idea."
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According to two Republicans, Tressel has not expressed interest in the Senate seat as he closes in on his fourth full year as president of Youngstown State University. However, that hasn't halted overtures from those within the party and hopes from some that he would entertain the idea of a campaign.
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"I wish he was [interested]," one prominent Ohio Republican said, citing his statewide name identification has a pre-eminent reason.
Requests for comment to the president's office at Youngstown State were not returned.
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If Tressel were to run, he would have to by state's filing deadline on Feb. 7, leaving a shortened time period to consider a bid. Along with Vance, who is being prodded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to run, Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, is considering the jump to the Senate race from his current gubernatorial bid.
Tressel has served as president of Youngstown State University since May 2014, the same school he guided to...
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