Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Trump and Ohio’s GOP establishment clash on the eve of a rowdy Senate primary

By 37ci3 Mar18,2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On the eve Ohio Republican Senate Primary The two leading candidates, drowning in resentment and anger, drew closer to their tribes on Monday to harden their battle lines in what has become a referendum on former President Donald Trump.

Trump allies and his preferred candidate, Bernie Moreno, attacked the state Tuesday, warning that a vote for state Sen. Matt Dolan would hurt their MAGA movement. Meanwhile, Dolan has been campaigning here with Gov. Mike DeWine, who has remained popular among moderates and independents, the key to Dolan’s coalition, despite clashes with the right-wing base.

Last minute rush a Trump headlined a weekend rally for Moreno and featured what many saw as a rigged contest for the GOP nomination to face Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in November. Polls show a two-way race between Moreno and Dolan, with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose falling behind the pack and many voters undecided.

“Whoever we’re running has got to win in November,” DeWine, a mainstay of Ohio GOP politics who lost his Senate seat to Brown in 2006, told a crowd packed into the back room of a bar in Columbus’ German Village neighborhood. “This is not going to be an easy race, my friends.”

“I ran against this guy, so I can say it’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible,” DeWine said. “It’s very, very possible. And of the three candidates, look, all of them could have won. But the person with the best chance to win in the fall is Matt Dolan. I think our common sense tells us that.”

DeWine’s event with Dolan drew an after-work crowd of about 75 Republicans at the state capital, including several allies of former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich, an NBC News contributor, has been a vocal critic of Trump since losing to him in the 2016 GOP presidential race.

As guests sipped beer and nibbled on appetizers, DeWine argued that Dolan was a true primary conservative, citing policies he championed as Ohio Senate budget chief. Neither he nor Dolan attacked anyone by name, though Dolan emphasized how he outperformed Trump with voters in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.

“There are a lot of different factors in the campaign,” DeWine told reporters after the event. “This campaign is ultimately not about Mike DeWine. It’s not about Donald Trump. “That’s really who is going to represent the state of Ohio.”

Dolan cast himself as a champion of Trump’s policies, but admitted to having a very different, softer personality. He drew some subtle contrasts on Monday, which included a group of MAGA world followers who flocked to Ohio last week to campaign for Trump and Moreno.

“I’ve fought and I’ve gotten results, because if you don’t get results, you’re just yelling, and we’ve yelled too much in our country,” Dolan said, following DeWine onstage at the bar.

“As Republicans, we have to do this — we have to recognize that civility in politics is not weakness, and we measure our strength not by how many votes we have, but by how much we do for the American people,” he said. concluded his remarks.

Later, when asked if he directed these criticisms at Trump and Moreno, Dolan said that he was “criticizing Washington.”

Moreno and his allies have been more direct in their attacks on Dolan. After Trump’s belligerent remarks on Saturday, Moreno was shut down with a message of sharp insults and images.

Mitt Dolan,” Moreno and Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, a prominent MAGA figure, pointed out at campaign stops. The jab was meant to evoke Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and now a prominent Trump critic who hates the right. .

Moreno also referred to Dolan as a “swamp RINO,” or Republican in name only. He complained that old-guard GOP leaders were “stabbing us in the back.” At one event, Moreno urged voters to “take a stab in the heart and make it clear that we put America first in Ohio.” In another, he encouraged them to “finally destroy” old-guard establishment Republicans here in Ohio.

On Monday morning in a small coffee shop in western Ohio, a dozen Lake and Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, voters who have built national followings, squeezed in to see Moreno warm up. upward movement. Lake and Vance continued their attack on Dolan and the facility.

“I call him ‘doormat Matt’ because I found out he’s a doormat for the woke crowd,” Lake said, picking up on Trump’s line of attack on how the Major League Baseball franchise owned by Dolan’s family changed the team’s name. Cleveland Indians to Rangers.

Dolan said he was not involved in the rebranding, which came amid concerns that the previous name was offensive to Native Americans.

After the event, Moreno, a wealthy businessman who has loaned his campaign more than $4 million, brushed aside questions about the threat posed by Dolan, who loaned himself $10 million.

“It’s not about his appeal,” Moreno said. “It has an infinite number of resources. When Kari and I need to raise money, we have to pick up the phone and start calling friends. He takes the phone and calls my mother. Then he takes the phone and calls my father.”

“When you have a governor and a previous senator in the race because they want to preserve the old establishment, it’s hard to overcome,” Moreno said, referring to DeWine and former Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, another Dolan. supporter. “Especially if you’re someone who’s never been in public office, never been on the ballot.”

Neither Moreno nor Dolan seem concerned about unifying the party after a divisive primary.

“The more important question is the opposite, because the reality is that Matt Dolan has called the primary election deniers and conspiracy theorists,” Moreno said when asked how Dolan would keep his supporters in the loop if he wins the nomination Sunday. “It is my opponent who spends unlimited resources to beat me. … And the reality is that on March 20th, we’re going to be a fully united — if maybe a little dysfunctional — Republican family.”

Dolan also used a family analogy.

“Actually, I think the media does more than I do,” he told NBC News on Sunday after attending a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Willoughby, a suburb of Cleveland. “We ask them to choose between families. I understand that this is difficult. But when they make their choice and I win, they will gather.”

But at Moreno’s Sunday rally near Cincinnati, several voters vowed not to support Dolan in the general election if he wins the nomination.

“I will not be voting in this race,” said Claudia Harrod. “I can’t vote for Sherrod Brown, but I don’t think I can vote for LaRose or Dolan. … They talk out of both sides of their mouths. And they’re RINOs.”

Nancy Sparks added, “I would sit out the Senate race.”

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By 37ci3

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