Trump-backed Bernie Moreno wins contentious Ohio GOP Senate primary

Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno will win the Ohio GOP Senate primary, The Associated Press projects, in a race that tested the weight of former President Trump’s endorsement.Moreno was projected as the winner Tuesday night, beating Republican State Sen. Matt Dolan and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose in a contest many believe is a solid opportunity for Republicans to flip the seat. Moreno argued the contentious GOP primary was a battle between an outsider who will carry forward the MAGA agenda versus the establishment.”If you want somebody who’s going to be more liberal than Mitt Romney in the United States Senate, then vote for Matt Dolan,” Moreno, endorsed by Trump in December, argued at a rally in suburban Cleveland on the eve of the primary.Dolan, endorsed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and former Sen. Rob Portman, both considered to be top members of Ohio’s Republican old guard or establishment, had been surging in the polls in the last few weeks as he used his considerable personal fortune to blanket the airwaves with ads attempting to walk the line between supporting Trump’s agenda while distancing himself from Trump the person.GOP CANDIDATE PUSHING TERM LIMITS SEEKS TO UNSEAT VULNERABLE 41-YEAR DEM INCUMBENT: ‘COUNTRY IS IN TROUBLE'”I’m the only one in this race that’s cut taxes and reduced regulations. Who else has done that? Donald Trump,” Dolan noted in a Fox News Digital interview in Columbus Monday. “Everyone wants to talk about Donald Trump’s endorsement. I’m the only one who’s actually done Donald Trump policies because it helps Ohio.””Bernie wants to be divisive. I want to be inclusive of all Republicans,” Dolan claimed. “I’m not interested in dividing the Republican Party. I’m interested in, when we put conservative agendas in place, Republicans win. When that happens, Ohioans and Americans are better off. That’s the message I’m running on.”His personality?” Dolan, the only candidate not to endorse Trump, said during a debate in early March. “It’s not me. His political style? It’s not me. But his policies that make your life better, make America stronger, make Ohio stronger — that is me.”Moreno made a veiled reference to that comment while speaking at a Dayton-area rally with Trump Saturday. “I am so sick of Republicans that will say ‘I support President Trump’s policies, but I don’t like the man,'” Moreno said. “This is a good man. This is a great American. This man wakes up every day fighting for us, fighting for this country. He loves this country like no other leader in this nation has ever loved this country.”TRUMP, TOP ALLIES MAKE CLOSING PITCH FOR SHERROD BROWN CHALLENGER BERNIE MORENO IN OHIO SENATE RACELaRose, who endorsed Trump, attempted to make the case on the campaign trail that he was the only true conservative in the race, criticizing Moreno for previous comments and positions on gun control and abortion while labeling Dolan a RINO (Republican in name only) over his past voting record.LaRose, who was massively outspent by Moreno and Dolan, touted his conservative record and told Fox News Digital earlier this year he was “the most dangerous weapon against Sherrod Brown.”The race will now focus on Brown, the only Democrat to win statewide in Ohio in a decade, and his matchup with Moreno will have significant implications on which party takes control of the U.S. Senate in November.GOP CANDIDATE BLASTS AP ‘HIT PIECE’ AS ‘DEBUNKED’ AFTER ADULT WEBSITE FOUNDER CALLS ALLEGED PROFILE A ‘PRANK’Democrats control the Senate with a 51-49 majority, but Republicans are looking at a favorable Senate map in 2024, with Democrats defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs. Three of those seats are in red states Trump carried in 2020 — Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, where Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election.Trump and his surrogates who rallied around Moreno have already begun to attack Brown as someone who is out of step with Ohio voters in a state that Trump won by eight points in 2020. Additionally, Republicans have made the case Brown is a rubber stamp for President Biden.  Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News Digital at a Saturday rally in Dayton that Moreno is the strongest candidate to face Brown, who, he says, “talks one way” when “he’s at home,” but then votes with Biden in Washington, D.C.”Ohio needs to defeat your horrendous radical left Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, who pretends he’s my best friend,” Trump told the crowd in Dayton. “He pretends he’s my best friend until he gets in, and then he goes radical left all the time. You know, if you listen to his commercials, he sounds like he’s running with Trump. He’s not.”
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