Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, is facing criticism for a campaign flight to meet with faith leaders on a plane owned by a strip club proprietor.
According to Cleveland.com, Don Ksiezyk owns both the plane and the "Peek-a-Boo" strip club in Cleveland. Renacci downplayed the connection, calling Ksiezyk a volunteer and saying that Renacci's campaign was "not going to vet volunteers."
Renacci won the Republican primary for a Senate seat in May and is facing incumbent Sherrod Brown, a Democrat. Renacci deflected questions on his connection with the strip club owner by bringing up Brown's "multiple abuses," the local outlet reported.
"I'm going with a volunteer, and no one's concerned about traveling with him or anything," said Renacci. "Again, it's so sad that we're worried about my travel, which is legal, but you won't report on Sherrod Brown's multiple abuses over the years."
Renacci is referring to Brown's 1986 divorce, which his ex-wife originally alleged that Brown had been physical with her, but has since rescinded the accusation. The divorce has been a point of emphasis for Brown's candidates, albeit to little success.
The flight was one of many Renacci took on the plane during the campaign, listed as a $2,500 in-kind contribution. Republicans have reportedly been concerned that Brown has significantly outspent Renacci in advertising. Polls show Brown has a significant lead over Renacci in polling and hasn't trailed Renacci in any major poll since the primaries despite being in a state that President Trump won by eight points.
Renacci was chosen as the GOP candidate after 40-year-old Josh Mandel dropped out of the race, citing his wife's health.