3 Degrees of Trumpiness: Ohio’s Republican Senate Candidates Clash

Three Republicans seeking to take on Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, in the fall took shots at one another during a debate on Wednesday night as they tried to present themselves as the most conservative candidate in a tightly contested primary.

It is a rare Senate race where an endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump has not cleared the Republican field.

Mr. Trump’s preferred candidate, Bernie Moreno, a former car dealer from Cleveland, has repeatedly cast himself as an outsider while playing up his endorsements, including his backing from Ohio’s other senator, J.D. Vance. Frank LaRose, the Ohio secretary of state, has presented himself as a “battle-tested” candidate who has already won a statewide race. And Matt Dolan, a wealthy state senator, has occupied a more moderate lane to promote his support for “Trump policies” without explicitly endorsing Mr. Trump in the primary.

The primary election, on March 19, will set up an expensive and closely watched November clash with Mr. Brown. Republicans see the race as a top pickup opportunity in the narrowly divided chamber.

The Republican primary candidates sparred for the third and final time at the debate, which was held in Oxford and hosted by Miami University and WLWT News 5. Here are five takeaways from the event and the broader race:

Trump, as ever, is the race’s North Star.

Republican primaries these days tend to revolve around which candidate praises Mr. Trump the most, and the candidates in Ohio appear well aware that he won their increasingly red state by eight percentage points in both 2016 and 2020.

Mr. Moreno highlighted his Trump endorsement moments into Wednesday’s debate, as he has during previous forums, defended Mr. Trump’s recent comments on NATO and later assured viewers that the former president was “a good man.”

Related Articles

Back to top button