Ohio Gov. DeWine makes endorsement in uber-competitive Senate race


Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio parted ways with Donald Trump on Monday and endorsed state Sen. Matt Dolan over Trump-backed businessman Bernie Moreno in the state’s three-way GOP primary for a U.S. Senate seat.

In breaking ranks with the former president, DeWine called Dolan the party’s best shot at defeating Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown in November.

Brown is viewed as one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats seeking reelection this fall, while Dolan has cast himself as a moderate Republican and the only candidate in his primary who didn’t actively seek Trump’s endorsement.

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In a letter to fellow Ohioans, DeWine and his wife Fran urged them to vote for Dolan. They praised Dolan for his “service, experience, and integrity,” and wrote: “He listens. He fights. And, he knows how to get results for Ohio.”

DeWine’s decision highlights continued divisions between establishment Republicans in the one-time battleground state and the party’s increasingly dominant pro-Trump flank, which twice chose him for president by strong margins. Ohio’s state GOP was the first in the nation to endorse Trump for president this year.

Only about two weeks ago, DeWine told reporters he didn’t plan any endorsement in the GOP primary, which also features Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, his fellow state officeholder. But that was before the March 19 primary edged ever closer with no apparent runaway leader and a large swath of Republican voters still undecided.

Gov. DeWine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks at a campaign stop at The Mandalay event center on November 4, 2022 in Moraine, Ohio.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Moderate former U.S. Sen. Rob Portman similarly weighed in late in the contest, endorsing Dolan on Friday.

DeWine’s move is less likely to hurt Moreno, who has campaigned heavily on the Trump endorsement, than LaRose, a former Green Beret and second-term state officeholder who has been working to carve out a winning lane in the race.

LaRose frequently points out that Moreno and Dolan are millionaires, having self-funded their campaigns to the tune of a combined $10 million, while he is merely a “thousandaire.” Moreno made his fortune in Cleveland, first building a luxury auto sales business and later in blockchain technology, which generates “blocks” of information or transactions into ledgers that are secure and transparent. Dolan’s family owns baseball’s Cleveland Guardians.

Moreno campaigned Monday throughout central Ohio with Trump-backed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. He’s also enjoyed support on the campaign trail from other big-name Trump allies, including Donald Trump Jr. His endorsements also include Ohio’s Trump-backed Republican U.S. Sen. JD Vance, pro-Trump fighter U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

But DeWine’s decision suggested such conservative backing may not be enough against Brown, a three-term senator who’s been one of the state’s most reliably elected politicians for decades.

DeWine, too, has such a legacy — having served as a former state legislator, congressman, U.S. senator and lieutenant governor. He won reelection by a 25% margin in 2022, carrying 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

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Republicans view Brown, among the most liberal members of the Senate, as particularly vulnerable this year because of the unpopularity of the same-party president, Joe Biden, and Ohio’s tack to the political right in recent years.



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