Moreno Survives in Ohio With Trump and Vance’s Support

Moreno Survives in Ohio With Trump and Vance’s Support

State of the Union: Trump’s chosen candidates won Tuesday night in Ohio, but will they win in November?

With the 2024 presidential election already set to be a 2020 rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, all attention has turned to crucial down ballot races that may determine the balance of power come January 2025. The GOP’s plan to recapture the White House and the Senate runs through Ohio, where Trump has demonstrated repeatedly over the last decade, and did so again Tuesday night, that his takeover of the Republican party is total.

When Trump squared off against Hillary Clinton, he carried the Buckeye state by 8 points after voting for Barack Obama in the two previous presidential elections. Trump won by the same margin in 2020. Two years later, J.D. Vance breezed through his senate election and would soon become Trump’s closest ally in the Senate. Now, another Trump-endorsed senate candidate is preparing to capitalize on Ohio’s shift towards the GOP. On Tuesday night, businessman Bernie Moreno handily defeated Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan in a primary matchup some believed to be a tossup. With a number of crucial endorsements, Moreno had momentum throughout the campaign, but an Associated Press story late in the campaign cycle that claimed an email account of Moreno’s was used to make an account on a website to solicit casual gay sex in 2008 risked derailing Moreno’s campaign. Yet, Trump and allies’ continued support proved enough for Moreno to still win handily.

With Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from the deep-red state of West Virginia refusing to run for reelection when Democrats hold a one seat majority in the upper chamber, it’s safe to say the senate is 50-50 heading into the 2024 election cycle. The map already heavily favors Republicans, though one should not underestimate the party’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Nevertheless, none of the GOP’s currently held seats are considered tossups, whereas Democrats have to defend seats in Arizona, Montana, and Ohio. Of these three races, Ohio seems like the GOP’s best shot to clear 50 senate seats. Ohio is simply more red than Arizona is today. While Montana could be another easy get for the GOP, Sen. John Tester is a political survivor who has won three tight races and remains popular in the state. Unseating Sen. Sherrod Brown, who won the seat in 2000 by defeating Ohio’s current and very popular governor Mike DeWine will be no easy task either, but Trump and the GOP believe they have their man.

In other competitive House races throughout the state, Trump-aligned candidates carried the day. All but one of Trump’s endorsed candidates were incumbents, and most went uncontested. A Trump endorsement doesn’t just have the potential to push a candidate over the line—sometimes it scares competition off entirely. 

The only non-incumbent Trump endorsed in Ohio was state Rep. Derek Merrin. Merrin defeated state Rep. Craig Riedel in the GOP’s primary for the 9th District by double digits. In 2016 and 2020, the 9th District went for Trump, but Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur has held the seat since 1983. The GOP aims to send the 77-year-old Kaptur into retirement and expand their razor-thin margins in the House. 

Riedel appeared to be the frontrunner and garnered national GOP support until a recording of a conversation in which Riedel criticized Trump was leaked in December. Merrin joined the race shortly thereafter as Republicans sought an alternative to Riedel and earned the backing of House Speaker Mike Johnson and the Congressional Leadership Fund. On Monday, Trump himself endorsed Merrin to help push him over the line.

As it stands now, not a single Trump-endorsed candidate running for federal office has lost a primary. But the real test, for Trump and his chosen candidates, is in November, and a whole lot might hang on Ohio.

The post Moreno Survives in Ohio With Trump and Vance’s Support appeared first on The American Conservative.

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