State Rep. Tom Patton, R-Strongsville announced Tuesday he is withdrawing from the 16th Congressional District race, leaving three Republicans competing for the nomination.
In a statement, Patton wrote an ongoing "family health crisis has forced me to re-visit my candidacy in OH-16. The time needed to campaign throughout the 16th District is extensive. I have a newborn grandson (whose) very life hangs in the balance and it has been very stressful to me that I have been unavailable to my daughter and family because of campaign commitments, in a way I should be as a father and grandfather.
"I've always placed family first, and unfortunately, it has become clear to me that I cannot run for Congress and place my family first. The time commitment needed of me and travel time to and from Washington is far greater than serving southwest Cuyahoga County as a state representative in Columbus."
Patton, a Cuyahoga County Republican, said he will instead seek re-election next year as state representative.
The remaining Republican candidates are State Rep. Christina Hagan of Marlboro Township; former Indianapolis Colts and Ohio State University wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez of Westlake; and Army veteran Kit Seryak of Rocky River.
The Democratic candidates are Aaron Godfrey, a physicist in North Olmsted; Jennifer Herold, an occupational therapist in Strongsville, who has declared her candidacy online but has not yet filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission; and Mark Dent, an Army veteran in Berea who filed his statement of candidacy Tuesday with the FEC.
Hagan in a text message wrote, "My thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Tom Patton and his family, most especially his grandchild. The health and well being of family is something that should always take precedence over politics."
Gonzalez's said via text message, "We wish Tom and the Patton family well. Elizabeth and I will keep his grandson and family in our thoughts and prayers."
Republican establishment support seems to be coalescing around Gonzalez, who raised $626,774 in campaign contributions between July and September. Patton had lagged behind with $278,351 raised with Hagan, a candidate aligned with President Donald Trump, bringing in $34,615 for the third quarter and a total of $161,880 for the election cycle.
U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, one of Stark County's congressmen, has endorsed Gonzalez, who has a scheduled fundraiser at Brookside Country Club in Jackson Township on Nov. 29. The host committee for the fundraiser includes Tim Timken, the chairman, CEO and president of TimkenSteel as well as the husband of Ohio Republican Chairman Jane Timken. Also on the committee are former Ambassador to Germany Tim Timken, the TimkenSteel CEO's uncle, and his wife Sue; prominent local Republicans such as developer Bob DeHoff; Stark County Auditor Alan Harold; McDonald's franchise owner Tom Locke; Tim Smucker, the chairman of J.M. Smucker and Co. in Orrville and Doug Sibila, the CEO of Peoples Services.
U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, who currently represents the 16th Congressional District, announced in March he would not run for re-election and would run for Ohio governor.
Robert Wang is a staff writer at The Canton Repository. Todd Porter, special projects editor at the Repository, contributed to this report.