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Friday, April 12, 2024

Democratic Group Enters Ohio Republican Senate Primary with TV Spot

Amidst the Republican Senate primary in Ohio, a Democratic group has decided to intervene by launching a new television advertisement aimed at highlighting the conservative bona fides of Bernie Moreno, a prominent businessman from the Cleveland area who has garnered the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump.

The ad seeks to portray Mr. Moreno as ultraconservative and closely aligned with Mr. Trump. However, the timing of the ad’s release, just a week before the primary, is likely to backfire as Republican voters may interpret these criticisms as endorsements, a tactic previously employed by Democrats in other races.

Funding for the ad, totaling approximately $879,000, is provided by a group known as Duty and Country, with contributions primarily sourced from the Senate Majority PAC, a key super PAC supporting Democratic efforts to retain control of the Senate.

Mr. Moreno finds himself vying for the Republican nomination against State Senator Matt Dolan and Ohio’s Secretary of State, Frank LaRose. The victor of the primary contest will ultimately face Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown in the general election.

Reagan McCarthy, communications director for Mr. Moreno, emphasized the underestimation of the America First movement by Democrats, cautioning against dismissing Mr. Trump’s influence. McCarthy drew parallels to the 2016 presidential election, where Democrats underestimated Trump’s candidacy, leading to an unexpected victory. He predicts a similar outcome for Senator Brown in the upcoming election.

Despite receiving endorsements from notable figures like Mr. Trump and Senator J.D. Vance, a Trump-backed Republican, Mr. Moreno has encountered difficulties in distancing himself from his primary opponents. His embrace of hard-line conservative stances has made him a target for Democrats, who see his positions as vulnerabilities in a general election campaign.

Hannah Menchhoff, a spokeswoman for the Senate Majority PAC, underscored the need for Ohio voters to be informed about Mr. Moreno’s political affiliations. She characterized him as a MAGA extremist, citing his alignment with Trump’s policies on issues such as abortion and healthcare reform.

The Ohio Senate race holds significant implications for the balance of power in Washington. With Democrats seeking to maintain control of the Senate, Republicans aim to capitalize on potential vulnerabilities in key battleground states like Ohio.

Notably, Republicans need to flip two seats to regain control of the Senate in the event of President Biden’s re-election, or just one if the White House returns to Republican hands. The GOP’s anticipated gain of one seat in West Virginia, following Senator Joe Manchin III’s decision not to seek re-election, further underscores the importance of contests like the one in Ohio.

This strategy of intervening in primary races to shape the outcome is not new to Democrats. In recent elections, similar tactics have been employed, such as in the California Senate primary where Representative Adam Schiff ran ads criticizing Republican candidate Steve Garvey as too conservative. Similarly, in the Pennsylvania governor’s race, Democrat Josh Shapiro emphasized the conservative credentials of Doug Mastriano, the Trump-backed candidate, ultimately leading to his victory in the primary.

As the Ohio primary draws nearer, the impact of these interventions remains uncertain. However, the contest underscores the intense competition for political control, with both parties employing strategic maneuvers to gain an edge in crucial battleground states.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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