Geraldo Rivera Expresses Interest in Ohio U.S. Senate Seat, Reverses Course within 36 Hours


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera tweeted from Siesta Keys, Florida last week, “Pondering running for retiring @senrobportman seat in United States Senate. #GoBuckeyes.”

Rivera is a commentator for Fox News, host of Geraldo in Cleveland on WTAM1100 and Roadkill, a podcast.  He told a Cleveland news outlet that he would run as a Republican.

By early afternoon on Thursday, however, Rivera had already bowed out of the contest, tweeting, “After a 36-hour pondering whirlwind I’ve decided not to seek public office. Erica and I deeply appreciate the good wishes of those cheering the idea.”

The swift reversal, according to Rivera, was due to one of his employers – Fox News – telling him to “pick a lane;” essentially, decide between politics or journalism, but not both.

In 2013 Rivera flirted with the idea of federal politics when he announced his interest in the U.S. Senate on behalf of New Jersey but later nixed the idea.

During his 36-hour exploration the man who has been in the news business since 1970, commented on a video he released on his “friend,” President Donald Trump, said he would fight for Ohio and expressed his queasiness over Democrats passing a massive spending bill (dressed up as COVID relief) without Republican support.

Rivera lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio – a Cleveland suburb and hometown of his wife Erica Levy. Levy is Rivera’s fifth wife and 32 years his junior.

Ohio State Senator Andrew Brenner (R-District 19) told The Ohio Star that Geraldo’s consideration was “interesting.”  Cleveland talk radio icon Bob Frantz during a discussion with The Star on the matter called Geraldo a “liberal masquerading as a center-right [Republican].”

Rivera calls himself a “patriot” and a “JewRican” (his mother a Russian Jew, his father Puerto Rican) and a “kick ass reporter.”

He was born Gerald Riviera but goes by Geraldo Rivera, something “more identifiably Latino.”   Rivera hosted programs on ABC’s 20/20, had his own TV show – Rivera – and was catapulted to fame in the mid-80s when he broadcast the two-hour live show titled Al Capone’s Vaults – an exploration of secret chambers below the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, once owned by Capone.

Ohio will have one of its two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in 2022 but this time without incumbent Rob Portman (R) competing.  Portman announced his retirement from federal politics in January but will serve the remainder of his term.

Soon after Portman’s announcement then-Chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party Jane Timken resigned as boss of the Ohio GOP and announced her bid for U.S. Senate. Two-time Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel entered the race shortly after. Dublin, Ohio businessman Mark Pukita entered the race. Military leader and EMS pilot Mike Leipold also threw his hat in the ring.  Cleveland investment banker Mike Gibbons is alleged to be exploring a run.

According to a recent poll released March 3, Josh Mandel sits as the frontrunner. The survey, conducted between February 1-3, reports 69% name recognition (double the level of other competitors) and a 42% favorable rating (20 points higher than the nearest competitor) for Mandel.

Establishment Republican and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is a potential competitor. U.S. Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) and Dave Joyce (R-OH-14) are all believed to be considering a run for the upper chamber. Nonpolitician, and author of the book that became a NetFlix hit Hillbilly Elergy, J.D. Vance is also a prospect.

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Jack Windsor is Statehouse Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an independent investigative reporter. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Geraldo Rivera” by Mark Taylor CC2.0.





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