In Test Of Trump’s Clout, Ohio Republicans Pick US Senate Challenger

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Bernie Moreno won the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in November, Edison Research projected on Tuesday, in a race that had been considered to be a test of former President Donald Trump’s sway.

Trump, the Republican challenger to Democratic President Joe Biden, had endorsed Moreno in the primary, appearing at a campaign rally for the entrepreneur on Saturday.

Moreno had also garnered endorsements from J.D. Vance, Ohio’s Republican U.S. senator, and U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, another lawmaker from Ohio and the powerful chairman of the House judiciary panel, in a crowded field of candidates.

Republicans are looking to erase Democrats’ 51-49 majority in the chamber, with Democrats needing to defend a half-dozen seats in competitive states including Ohio.

Many observers had blamed Republicans’ failure to capture the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections in part to poor performance by untested Trump-backed candidates including television personality Mehmet Oz, who lost his Senate contest in Pennsylvania to Democrat John Fetterman.

Nationally, Republicans have largely avoided messy Senate primary contests this year, as clear favorites emerged early on in competitive states. Ohio had been a prominent exception.

Ohio’s Republican primary attracted significant interest. The primary alone drew $48.3 million in ad spending, according to AdImpact, a firm that tracks political advertising.

While Moreno, who began his business career by buying a car dealership before branching out to other industries, held an edge in many of the polls, he faced stiff competition.

Matt Dolan, a state senator whose family owns Cleveland’s professional baseball team, had also sought the nomination. Dolan secured endorsements from Mike DeWine, the state’s governor, and Rob Portman, the former U.S. senator for the state. Frank LaRose, the Ohio’s secretary of state, ran for the seat too.

Ohio backed Trump in its last two presidential elections, and he won by eight percentage points in 2020. In addition to Vance’s Senate seat, Republicans also hold many major statewide elected offices and both chambers of the state legislature.

Brown, a moderate who heads the Senate banking panel, ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

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