Trump-backed Bernie Moreno ekes out win in Ohio Republican Senate race

Entrepreneur Bernie Moreno emerged victorious from the bruising Ohio Republican Senate major Tuesday, advancing to face incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in November — regardless of changing into entangled in a late-breaking scandal.

Moreno, 57, the president of Assortment Auto Group, loved the backing of Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) in addition to former President Donald Trump, and had billed himself as a populist acolyte of the forty fifth president’s “Make America Nice Once more” motion.

That help performed a key position in Moreno edging State Sen. Matt Dolan — who was endorsed by GOP Gov. Mike DeWine and former Republican Sen. Rob Portman — and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

Bernie Moreno has gained the Republican Senate major in Ohio. AP

Moreno was garnering 49.4% of the vote to Dolan’s 32.9% backing with 64% of precincts reporting.

“I need to thank President Trump, for all he did for me for this marketing campaign,” Moreno mentioned in his victory speech, describing the previous president’s help as “unwavering” and noting that he spoke to Trump shortly after he was projected to win the Senate major race.

“I put on with honor my endorsement from President Trump,” he added, questioning if Brown “goes to put on with honor his 99% voting document with Joe Biden.”

Ohio is broadly seen as one of many high Republican pickup alternatives within the Senate this cycle because of the state’s rightward swing. Buckeye State voters have backed the GOP candidate in 4 of the six presidential elections since 2000, with Trump beating President Biden by eight proportion factors in 2020.

To counter that risk, at the very least one Democratic-aligned group intervened within the race to assist buoy Moreno.

The Obligation and Nation PAC spent $2.7 million on a TV commercial highlighting Moreno‘s shut alignment with Trump, in keeping with AdImpact, which tracks spending on promotional spots. Obligation and Nation will get funding from the Senate Majority PAC, the first committee backing Senate Democrats.

“[Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer simply received CAUGHT meddling in our major as a result of he needs the weakest opponent for Sherrod Brown,” Dolan vented on X Thursday after experiences on the advert circulated.

Matt Dolan pumped tons of his personal cash into the race, looking for to drag off a victory. AP

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who helms the Senate Democrats’ marketing campaign arm, has publicly explained that he views Moreno as a “weak candidate.”

“He’s received out-of-staters coming in to marketing campaign for him,” Peters advised Axios final week, “and Sherrod Brown at all times has individuals from Ohio campaigning for him.”

Considerably sparse polling had pegged Moreno working neck and neck with Dolan, with the previous attributing the tightness of the race to a “bunch of deceptive, disgusting, and gross advertisements.”

Moreno on stage with Trump at a rally in Dayton on March 16, 2024. Barbara Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Days earlier than voters went to the polls, Moreno’s marketing campaign was rocked by an Associated Press report that exposed a profile on Grownup Buddy Finder that marketed pursuit of “Males for 1-on-1 intercourse” had been created along with his e mail in 2008.

“Hello, searching for younger guys to have enjoyable with whereas touring,” one publish learn, per the outlet.

The AP couldn’t affirm that Moreno made the profile himself and his marketing campaign blamed a prank by an intern, the revelation seemingly contradicted the pro-family picture Moreno sought to domesticate.

“It’s a sick, last-minute assault by determined individuals,” he groused. “That is what they do. Take a look at what they did to Choose Kavanaugh, have a look at what they did to President Trump.”

Donald Trump enthusiastically gave his blessing to Bernie Moreno, whom his son Donald Trump Jr. has promoted. AP

The first race served as one other take a look at of Trump’s endorsement clout in addition to Vance’s affect inside the Buckeye State.

Trump stumped for Moreno on Saturday in Vandalia, Ohio, and laced into Dolan as a “weak RINO” — Republican in Title Solely — who was “making an attempt to turn into the following Mitt Romney.”

Vance endorsed Moreno in Might of final yr, looking for to keep away from a repeat of the bruising GOP major he muddled by again in 2022 after getting a jolt from Trump.

Each Moreno and Dolan competed within the 2022 major. Moreno finally withdrew and helped increase Vance, whereas Dolan completed in third, simply behind Vance and former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Bernie Moreno allied himself with the populist wing of the Republican Social gathering. AP

Dolan had rigorously navigated the Trump query all through his marketing campaign, having distanced himself from the forty fifth president throughout his 2022 marketing campaign.

“I’ve been capable of put Trump insurance policies into place right here in Ohio; much less taxes, much less regulation, college alternative,” Dolan told Scripps News forward of the first.

The state senator had pitched himself to voters because the candidate finest capable of dispatch Brown come November. He had tapped into his deep coffers to blanket the airwaves and had been the most important spender within the major.

Dolan is estimated to personal property between $14.5 million and as a lot as $41 million, according to an analysis from

Sherrod Brown is dealing with one of many fiercest reelection battles of his profession. Jasper Colt-USA TODAY

Brown, 71, is a three-term senator who has sought to model himself as a populist champion of the working class and is among the many most progressive Democrats within the Senate, according to GovTrack.

Republicans solely have to flip a web of two seats to retake the Senate in November. Democrats are defending 23 seats, whereas the GOP solely wants to guard 11 within the 2024 cycle.

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