Trump passes litmus test in Ohio: his candidate, Bernie Moreno, prevailed in the Republican Senate primary

The businessman of Colombian descent narrowly defeated Matt Dolan, state senator and favorite of local governor Mike DeWine, to earn the right to face Sherrod Brown in November.

Bernie Moreno prevailed in a close Republican Senate primary in Ohio. After appearing down in recent polls, Donald Trump’s candidate rebounded on Election Day and defeated Matt Dolan and Frank LaRose. In this way, he earned the right to face incumbent Sherrod Brown in an election that could define who retains the majority in the Upper House.

The businessman of Colombian descent won the former president’s endorsement in December and used it to his advantage. He based his campaign on the figure of an ‘outsider’ businessman who wants to go to Washington DC to drain it of career politicians.

“I am running for the United States Senate because, for too long, the men and women who move Ohio forward, American workers, have been left behind by career politicians like Sherrod Brown and Joe Biden,” he explains on his campaign website.

Moreno defeated Dolan and LaRose in what was expected to be a closer race than it turned out to be. The state senator picked up momentum in recent weeks and managed to climb toward the top in the polls, something Trump addressed by visiting the state in the days leading up to the election to push Moreno’s name.

Live results

Bernie Moreno: 49%

Matt Dolan: 33%

Frank LaRose: 17 %

Votes counted: 80%

Ohio and an opportunity for the GOP

Donald Trump won Ohio in both of his presidential endeavors, 2016 and 2020, by eight percentage points. In turn, JD Vance won his race by 6 points in 2022, and Mike DeWine did the same by over 20 points.

With this in mind, many analysts see this election as the perfect opportunity for the GOP to pick up the Buckeye State’s two senators, as the election will be tied to the presidential one, and this would be a natural carry for the Republicans trying to dethrone Sherrod Brown.

The Democratic incumbent is seeking his fourth term in the upper chamber after winning re-election in 2012 and 2018.

Whoever comes out of this is still gonna have to turn around and run against one of the better campaigners Ohio’s ever seen in Sherrod Brown,” Congressman David Joyce said of the race.

“A test of the former president’s influence in the state”

This primary was crucial for Trump, who was putting the weight of his endorsement on the line in a state very favorable to him.

In his eyes, he managed to defeat a candidate he described as “a weak RINO” who is “trying to become the next Mitt Romney.”

NRSC remained neutral in Ohio

Steve Daines (R-MT), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), is charged with leading Republicans to a majority in the upper chamber. Unlike his predecessor, Rick Scott (R-FL), who chose not to get involved in the primary process, the Montana senator is playing hardball to pick candidates in key states with the goal of advancing those most likely to win a general election.

Indeed, Daines has already endorsed names in Montana, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia and Nevada, though he decided to stay out of Ohio. His reasons? He believes that any of the three candidates could defeat Brown in a general election.

With the results in, the NRSC chairman is expected to line up behind Moreno in the coming days.