Trump-backed Bernie Moreno wins Ohio Senate Republican primary

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By journalsofus.com


Bernie Moreno, a wealthy former auto dealer and political newcomer, leveraged the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump to victory Tuesday in a hotly contested primary to determine which Ohio Republican would face incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown. , the last Democrat to hold elected office. state office in an increasingly Republican state.

Moreno defeated state Sen. Matt Dolan, whose family is the majority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, and Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, once again demonstrating the power of Trump’s support among Republican primary voters. Rarely has a race so clearly divided the Republican establishment from the old line to the new Trump wing of the party, and once again, the former president’s movement prevailed.

“We are the party of the future,” declared Moreno, who would be one of the richest members of the Senate and the only member born in South America, if elected in November. “We are the party that is going to rebuild the middle class in this country.”

Mr. Brown responded: “The choice ahead of Ohio is clear: Bernie Moreno has spent his career and campaign putting himself first and would do the same if elected. Elections depend on which side you are on and I will always work for Ohio.”

For Trump it was another victory. For Dolan, it was a second loss to a Trump-backed political neophyte. In 2022, author and investor JD Vance defeated him in the primary to recall Senator Rob Portman’s seat and won the general election that fall.

In defending Dolan, Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio, attempted to argue that Dolan was the best candidate to take on Brown, whose blue-collar appeal and well-established political personality could be difficult to overcome. , even in a state where Trump won the last two presidential elections by more than eight percentage points each time.

But in the Trump era, electability has rarely trumped loyalty when the former president has gotten involved. Moreno flooded Ohio airwaves with ads attacking Dolan for what he called an insufficient level of support for Trump’s border policies. Trump rallied voters for Moreno over the weekend outside Dayton, made headlines for saying some immigrants “weren’t people” and, amid a discussion about the auto industry, predicted “a of blood” if he lost in November.

Moreno will enter the general election cash-strapped and battered by an extremely negative primary campaign that ended with a super PAC backing Dolan. air accusations from an Associated Press report I had once advertised on an adult male dating website. Moreno’s campaign said the adult website profile was created in 2008 by an intern as a prank.

Of the $9.7 million Moreno has raised for his candidacy, less than $2.4 million remained at the end of February, according to campaign finance reports.

A Democratic super PAC aired ads in the final days of the primary to elevate Moreno, clearly indicating that he was the candidate the party wanted to face in November.

That same organization, the Senate Majority PAC, immediately lambasted the candidate it had elevated, saying in a statement that Moreno “will not be able to hide the fact that he is a shady car salesman.” The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee attacked him immediately in addition, recycling videos of Dolan and LaRose attacks that branded the new candidate as a corrupt and untrustworthy extremist.

The political arm of Senate Republicans framed the race differently. “Bernie is a political outsider running against a liberal career politician who has been running for office for 50 years,” said Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Brown comes into the general election prepared, rested and ready. He has raised money not only from unions that are staunchly loyal to him but also from corporations that have business before the Senate Banking Committee, which he chairs. His campaign has raised at least $26.7 million this election cycle and has more than $13.5 million in cash on hand.

But Moreno will run in a state that has become increasingly hostile to Democrats, and one that President Biden is unlikely to seriously oppose in his campaign for another term.

Brown, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, showed little concern about his third re-election bid. The Democrat has earned a reputation as a pro-worker politician who has opposed free trade agreements and defended unions in a state where the working class has shifted toward the Republican Party since Barack Obama he won it twice.

“We’ll spend this campaign contrasting my position on taking on Wall Street, my position on taking on the drug companies, my position on trade with theirs,” he told reporters Monday in Dayton, Ohio.

Ohioans voted last November to enshrine abortion rights in the state Constitution and legalize marijuana, votes that Brown said show a political complexity that defies a clear partisan divide.

With control of the Senate within reach of Republicans, Ohio and Montana – the only states where Trump won in 2020 and a Democrat is up for re-election – promise to gain enormous national attention. Democrats hold 51 seats in the Senate, but one of them, in deep red West Virginia, all but disappeared with the retirement of conservative Democrat Joe Manchin III.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Republican leadership, and an allied group, American Crossroads, have already booked nearly $83 million in advertising time this fall in Ohio.



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