Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on Monday launched its long-awaited campaign to face Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, but the new candidate must first defeat two wealthy foes in the Republican primary. “We need a candidate who has a strong statewide name identifier,” The Rose says Politico as he attempted to oppose these intra-party rivals, businessmanBernie Moreno and Senator Matt Dolan say, “I’m the only one with this.” LaRose, who was re-elected to his current position 59-40 last yearis indeed the only member of this trio that has prevailed throughout the state, even if all the recognition of his name may not be the one he wants.
The Secretary of State recently enthusiastically promoted Number 1, a Republican-backed constitutional amendment to demand 60% voter approval adopt future amendments. Despite earlier denials of the intent of the measure, LaRose told a Conservative rally earlier this year that the August 8 special election for the amendment is “100% about keeping a radical, pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution.” (Choice advocates handed over signatures to place a separate amendment on the November ballot to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.)
The opponents of number 1 have been too happy to use his words in their advertisements to argue that “[c]”corrupt politicians and special interests” are “trying to rig the rules to lock down Ohio’s extreme abortion ban and stop efforts to restore our rights.” LaRose also caught the eye earlier this month when he authorized anti-abortion groups to use incorrect forms to request mail-in ballots after Jewish groups, whose supporters are more likely to support abortion rights, used similar forms and were rejected. While GOP primary voters may relish his crusade to keep abortion largely illegal in Ohio, a failure at the polls next month could be a black eye.
Two months ago, LaRose also made headlines after Politico obtained what he called a “secret recording” in which he downplayed the potential impact of an endorsement from Donald Trump. The secretary of state, while acknowledging that Trump’s support “matters,” argued that only 20% of the primary electorate “would vote for who” the GOP master might prefer. LaRose added that while he thought he would get Trump’s support, he didn’t think “begging for it” would work.
The new candidate seems to stick to this approach, since he didn’t mention Trump at all in an announcement video highlighting his service as a Green Beret. Moreno, on the other hand, has made it clear that he really wants to be the MAGA world guy, and he may be in luck: Trump, although he still doesn’t officially take sides, say this weekend, “We love Ohio, and we love Bernie Moreno.” Dolan, for his part, said during his failed 2022 campaign for the other state Senate seat that the GOP need to move forward Big Lie and Trump, although he didn’t really rule out support it next year.
LaRose joins the race months after Dolan and Moreno launched their own campaigns to take on Brown, and they’ve used their head start to build their respective war chests. Dolan, co-owner of the Cleveland Guardians who took third place last year, only raised $300,000 from donors during the second quarter of the year, but self-funded $1 million, and it ended June with $3.9 million in hand.
Moreno, whose April launch came three months after Dolan’s, took in $2.3 million in its first quarter and had $1.5 million in the bank. Like Dolan, Moreno is wealthy, but even though he spent nearly $4 million of his own money during his abortive 2022 campaign for the Senate, he hasn’t self-funded anything so far this time around. LaRose, for his part, will have to build his own campaign finances from scratch, though he tells NBC he helped an allied super PAC raise $1 million before entering the race.
Brown, meanwhile, is preparing for what will be one of America’s most competitive Senate races as he seeks a fourth term in what has become a difficult state for his party. The senator raised $4.9 million during the second quarter and he ended last month with $8.7 million in the bank.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.
#Ohios #Senate #Republican #primaries #lit