Trump-Backed Bernie Moreno Wins in Ohio Republican Senate Primary, NBC News Declares

NBC News predicts that Donald Trump-backed businessman Bernie Moreno will win Ohio’s Republican Senate primary, setting up a high-stakes November race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.

“What we have to do now is, as a fully united party, understand that we have one mission, which is to get rid of Sherrod Brown,” Moreno said in a victory address in a Cleveland suburb on Tuesday night.

State Sen. Matt Dolan, Moreno’s major opponent, received the backing of Ohio’s popular Republican Gov. Mike DeWine early last week. Secretary of State Frank LaRose was also on the ballot, but he remained in third place, out-funded by his wealthier opponents.

Trump-Backed Bernie Moreno Wins in Ohio Republican Senate Primary, NBC News Declares

Moreno’s triumph sends an early message for this election year: Trump’s MAGA seal of approval may have more power in 2024 than it did a few years ago.

“I wear with honor. Moreno said he wears his endorsement from President Trump as a badge of honor.

In 2020, President Joe Biden defeated Trump in the White House, and the Republican Party lost both chambers of Congress. Many Trump-backed candidates scored poorly in important contests in 2022, despite Republicans narrowly regaining control of the House.

With memories of that dismal track record still fresh, Ohio’s contest was billed as a test of whether the former president’s support had regained clout among the GOP establishment this election season.

The victory of Moreno, 57, a politically inexperienced entrepreneur who earned his income as a luxury car dealer and blockchain investor, versus career politician Dolan strengthens Trump’s comeback case.

“It’s evident that Donald Trump’s endorsement for Bernie Moreno was a key factor,” Dolan told reporters after losing the race to Moreno.

With Tuesday’s primary battle behind him, Moreno’s campaign has shifted to general election mode, with the Republican party counting on him to upset Sen. Brown and help win Senate control.

Republicans have already questioned Moreno’s potential to flip the Democratic seat. Especially after he received outrage over an Associated Press investigation linking his email address to a 2008 account on a casual sex website seeking “Men for 1-on-1 sex.”

Trump-Backed Bernie Moreno Wins in Ohio Republican Senate Primary, NBC News Declares

Moreno’s lawyer later made a statement claiming that the account was created as a hoax by a former Moreno intern.

In the days preceding the Senate race, a Democratic PAC spent millions of dollars on commercials aimed at boosting Moreno, reflecting Democrats’ view that Brown would have an easier time beating Moreno in November than Dolan.

Ohio has gotten redder in recent election cycles, with Trump winning the state in 2016 and 2020. The Republican Party has been attempting to capitalize on the Buckeye State’s red wave in order to regain control of the Senate.

“Ohio is possibly one of the states that determines who controls the United States Senate,” Governor Mike DeWine remarked on Sunday. “So there’s a lot at stake in this election.”


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