A high-profile election in Ohio could give Republicans a chance to expand their influence in Washington

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By journalsofus.com


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republicans are eyeing a pair of high-profile elections in Ohio on Tuesday that could determine their chances of picking up critical seats this fall and expanding their power in Washington.

One is a contentious and expensive Republican primary for a chance to face a third term. Senator Sherrod Brown this autumn. The second is a Republican showdown in the 9th Congressional District held by Representative Marcy Kapturof Toledo, the woman with the longest tenure in Congress.

Both Brown and Kaptur are considered among the most vulnerable Democrats of the year, amid Ohio’s shift to the political right in recent years. With Democrats holding a slim majority of votes in the Senate and Republicans holding a narrow margin in the U.S. House of Representatives, both races have already attracted enormous attention from national party leaders.

Of greatest interest Tuesday is the outcome of a race between three Senate candidates for a chance to run against Brown in the fall. The race is testing the depth of the Republican Party’s loyalties toward former president donald trump in a state that voted for him convincingly twice.

Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno, running as a “political outsider,” failed to convert Trump’s endorsement into the kind of runaway advantage over his two rivals — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan. that the author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance experienced two years ago. Trump held a campaign rally for Moreno on Saturday.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that in 2008, someone with access to Moreno’s work email account created a profile on an adult website searching for “Men for 1 on 1 sex.” The AP could not definitively confirm that it was created by Moreno himself. Moreno’s attorney said a former intern created the account and provided a statement from the intern, Dan Ricci, who said he created the account as “part of a juvenile prank.”

Questions about the profile have circulated in Republican circles over the past month, sparking frustration among top GOP officials about Moreno’s potential vulnerability in a general election, according to seven people directly familiar with conversations about how to approach the matter. They requested anonymity to avoid conflict with Trump and his allies.

Also last week, Dolan, a largely self-funded candidate who did not seek Trump’s endorsement, won the support of two of the state’s best-known moderate Republicans: Gov. Mike DeWine and former U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. Meanwhile, LaRose enters primary day as the only contender who previously won state office.

Triumph issued a last minute backup of state Rep. Derek Merrin on Monday in the Toledo-area congressional primary, the latest twist in a rollercoaster ride of months of a primary that included quick entries and exits, candidate gaffes and bouncing endorsements. At one point, Vance, House Speaker Mike Johnson and Rep. Jim Jordan, a vocal Trump ally, aligned themselves with three competing campaigns.

Things calmed down when Trump-aligned candidate JR Majewski, who lost badly to Kaptur in 2022, abruptly abandoned the race earlier this month amid backlash over comments he made disparagingly about Special Olympics athletes.

That left three candidates in the race: Merrin, backed by Johnson and, as of Monday, Trump; former state Rep. Craig Riedel, endorsed by Jordan; and former Napoleon Mayor Steve Lankenau. Trump’s endorsement came as Riedel was airing scathing ads attacking Merrin, referencing the lawmaker’s ties to Convicted former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

Merrin, 37, is a term-limited, fourth-term state representative who led an intra-party rebellion in the Ohio House of Representatives last year after losing a bitter battle for the presidency. He joined the congressional race at the filing deadline after audio that surfaced of Riedel criticizing Trump began raising concerns within the party about Riedel’s electability.

Riedel, 57, was among the candidates who lost the nomination to Majewski in 2022. He raised more than $1.1 million heading into primary day, the most of any candidate and about 10 times more than Merrin . But Merrin has benefited from help from national Republicans, and the Congressional Leadership Fund spent more than $750,000 on his behalf.

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Associated Press writer Brian Slodysko in Washington contributed to this report.



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