COLUMBUS, Ohio – Mike Gibbons announced Tuesday that he will run for the Ohio seat in the U.S. Senate up for grabs in 2022. A Cleveland Republican, Gibbons is an investment banker, entrepreneur and real estate investor who made his first bid for U.S Senate in 2018 when he competed in the Republican primary.
The Ohio Star talked with Gibbons Tuesday morning shortly after he announced his candidacy.
“I’ve got five kids and five grandkids. I’ve never been more frightened for their future in my life,” Gibbons responded when asked why he’s running. “When I started, I didn’t know I’d do as well as I have. We were able to send our kids through college and grad school without loans – I started with nothing.”
He continued, “The American dream is there for anybody. First, you have to be smart enough to pursue what you want to achieve. I hear nothing but the American dream is dead, inequality is a problem. I don’t think it’s a problem. Equality isn’t based on net worth, it’s based on a person being treated with respect, as every person should be – that is how I behave in my life.”
“Unlike the Left, I believe in people making their own decisions. That philosophy has been rejected but that’s exactly the type of philosophy that has to be reinvigorated. It’s your personal responsibility, if you don’t have enough money because you didn’t work the hours or save, that’s not the country’s fault – that’s your fault.”
Gibbons said Social Security is a safety net and one he supports; he also said there are people with disabilities who need help and ought to have the assistance.
“Our Founders were the greatest in the world, in history, and they built a pattern, platform and system of government that can rectify any problem – that’s what we’ve done throughout history. But the Democratic Party is questioning the platform. I want to make sure the system of government we have is still the best in the world.”
When asked what separates him from other Republicans who have declared their candidacy for the same seat – Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, Bernie Moreno, Mark Pukita – Gibbons cited his professional experience.
“I’ve spent my entire career selling ideas. Not only selling them, but convincing people who don’t easily give trust that they were the right ideas. Then, them putting their trust in me to execute. I was talking not just about business matters, but strategy – the way things had to be accomplished to achieve goals. That perfectly translates into the legislative process, gaining the respect of Senators to listen to my ideas, convincing them that they are the right ideas – people across the aisle. That’s a skill I have more of than the others [Republican candidates]. Period.
Since 1989, when Gibbons launched his own company, he has provided businesses with strategic and financial advice, as well as capital. He also served as Managing Partner of the Cleveland Crunch professional soccer franchise, Co-Owner of Cheboygan Tap & Tool, and Co-Owner of Northern Lake Properties.
Asked if Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine represents the philosophy of personal responsibility for which Gibbons aims, the Parma-born candidate said “Mike DeWine is a very good person. I think He’s a genuinely good person.”
He continued “but this country is based upon the idea that individuals have personal responsibility…and we knew a lot really early on [with COVID]. People are upset about DeWine and his decisions on masks and vaccines. I don’t have a problem with the mask, I’ll wear a mask. I’ve taken the vaccine. But that’s not enough for the left right now. And Mike DeWine is influenced by arguments of the left and didn’t do properly what could have been done.”
Elaborating, Gibbons said that people at risk of severe illness from COVID, and those with comorbidities and at substantially high risk – could have been encouraged to exercise caution and stay away from dangerous environments. “He could have built a state program to support at-risk people – could have shopped for them. Could have let the economy thrive.”
Instead, Gibbons said, “35% or more of restaurants will not reopen. The common flu is more dangerous for people under 25 than COVID,” yet “we crushed businessmen across the state. It was completely unnecessary. Irresponsible.”
When asked to discuss a few of the initiatives on which he’d focus if elected, Gibbons said “I think we need to get the Senate to understand that capitalism saved the world. This idea that capitalism is the wrong system comes from a lot of very uneducated people and I want to educate them.”
Next Gibbons turned to the military – “I believe in peace through strength.” Although he said the U.S. should extricate from endless wars, he believes we should have the strongest military in the world and “will do everything to achieve that.”
Finally, he talked about fiscal responsibility and personal accountability. “We need to get our spending under control. Transfer payments don’t help people achieve the American dream – I want people to see it’s personal responsibility to live in a suburb and drive a nice car.”
According to Gibbons, in 2018 he started out with one percent name recognition among Republican voters but in just six months he ended up winning 38 of Ohio’s 88 counties during the primary.
Gibbons said this time he has 13 months and believes he can win. If the $5MM of his own money is not enough to achieve what he needs in the primary, Gibbons said he’ll spend more of his own earnings. “I don’t want celebrity or notoriety. I want to have influence on the future direction of the country.”
Last month Gibbons embarked on a statewide listening tour to talk with Ohioans about the prospect of representing them in Washington.
In 2016 Gibbons was the Ohio Finance Co-Chair of Donald J. Trump for President and a significant contributor to President Trump’s 2020 campaign.
Below is the video that accompanied the Gibbons announcement.
Gibbons is the fifth Republican to declare candidacy. J.D. Vance is expected to announce as is U.S. Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH-16). Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has been mentioned as a possible candidate, along with U.S. Rep Warren Davidson (R-OH-08)– although a top advisor on Davidson’s team told The Star Davidson is looking more closely at the ’22 gubernatorial race.
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