First on Fox: Ohio GOP Senate candidate Matt Dolan visits U.S.-Mexico border

EXCLUSIVE: As he runs for the Senate in Ohio, former prosecutor and former Republican state lawmaker Matt Dolan wants to draw attention to his home state’s fentanyl crisis and the flow of drugs over nation’s southern border. Dolan’s campaign for the Senate against Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown will take him to the U.S.-Mexico border this week, where he and members of Ohio law enforcement will get on-the-ground briefings, a border tour, and a ride along inside the Tucson Sector in Arizona, which is one of the busiest border sectors in both apprehensions and narcotic seizures. “The facts prove, beyond any doubt, that the China-backed cartels are exploiting chaos at the border to overwhelm enforcement resources, place migrants in peril, traffic deadly narcotics and bring criminals into the United States,” Dolan said in a statement shared first with Fox News on Tuesday. Dolan, a former state representative and state senator who also served as a top county prosecutor and Ohio assistant attorney general, emphasized that “every day, bombs disguised as drugs are smuggled across an open border, making fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction that is leaving a trail of crime and human misery across America.” FIRST ON FOX: TAKE TWO FOR OHIO’S DOLAN AS HE LAUNCHES 2024 SENATE BID Dolan says that “Sherrod Brown claims he doesn’t hear about the border crisis, yet it’s painfully clear from Tucson Sector that the Biden Administration’s failed policies undermine the rule of law, compromise America’s national security and turn Ohio into a veritable border state.” Dolan pledged that if elected he’ll “work to enhance border security to restrain the flow of human trafficking and drugs into America by completing construction of President Trump’s Border Wall, improving enforcement technology and providing federal authorities with the resources they need.” CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST FOX NEWS REPORTING, ANALYSIS, AND OPINION ON THE BORDER CRISIS He added that he’d work to designate the China-backed cartels in Mexico as terrorist organizations and push “domestic and international priorities that crack down on the manufacturing and distribution of illicit fentanyl.” More than 80 pounds of fentanyl — which had a street value of more than $5 million and was enough to kill 20 million people — was seized in Cleveland and Painsville, Ohio, in one of the largest busts in Buckeye State history. Sheriff Frank Leonbruno of Lake County, where part of the seizures took place, touted in a statement that “Matt Dolan not only understands the threat posed by the open southern border, but I am confident that having his experience and solutions-focused approach in the U.S. Senate will help to protect Ohioans from the scourge of fentanyl.” Dolan is making his second straight bid for the Senate in Ohio. Last year, he was the Senate candidate who was the biggest surprise as he surged during the closing weeks of Ohio’s crowded and combustible 2022 Republican nomination race. While much of the crowded and combustible field of Republican Senate candidates in Ohio last cycle showcased their loyalty to former President Donald Trump (who won Ohio by eight points in his 2016 presidential election victory and 2020 re-election defeat) and took aim at each other, Dolan kept his distance from both the crossfire and from Trump while showcasing his conservative credentials and agenda. Dolan — whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians — also shelled out millions of dollars of his own money to run ads for his Senate bid. He surged near the end of the primary race, winning 23.3% of the vote, just behind former state Treasurer Josh Mandel at 23.9%. Former hedge fund executive and best-selling author JD Vance won the early May primary with 32.2% of the vote, thanks in part to a last-minute endorsement from Trump.  Vance topped longtime Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in November’s general election to win the Senate seat. Ryan, who ran for the Senate as a populist outsider in the mold of Brown, and who was credited with running a smart campaign, still ended up losing to Vance by six points. While Vance won his contest, many other Trump-backed GOP nominees for senator or governor in highly competitive races didn’t fare as well, and the former president has been criticized for the Republican Party’s lackluster performance in the midterms. Brown, who’s the only Democrat to win statewide in Ohio in the past decade, announced shortly after the 2022 midterm elections that he intends to seek re-election to a fourth six-year term in the Senate. He’ll be heavily targeted by Republicans in a state that was once a premiere battleground but has shifted red over the past six years. Bernie Moreno, a multi-millionaire businessman who ran unsuccessfully for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination, is likely to launch another campaign. And Rep. Warren Davidson and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose are among those considering Senate bids.
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