Trump vindicated in pivotal Ohio primary as handpicked candidate Bernie Moreno wins handily

 March 20, 2024

Donald Trump notched a significant victory in Tuesday night's primaries, with his handpicked candidate, Bernie Moreno, winning a key Senate primary in Ohio.

Moreno will face Democrat Sherrod Brown in November, in what is expected to be one of the most closely watched Senate races this year.

The primary was widely seen as a test of Trump's endorsement power, with local Republicans allied with the party's establishment throwing their weight behind state Senator Matt Dolan.

Despite forecasts of trouble for Moreno, he won the three-way primary with a resounding 50% of the vote.

Trump's HUGE primary win

Trump descended on Ohio last weekend to campaign for Moreno, a Colombia native and successful car dealership owner.

The last stretch of the race saw allegations emerge against Moreno in the Associated Press about a hookup website, as Dolan surged in the polls.

Dolan came in second with 32%, followed by 16% for Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

Democrats had also poured money into backing Moreno, continuing a controversial strategy of supporting Trump-aligned candidates seen as more vulnerable in general elections. Moreno's win is another feather in Trump's cap as he moves swiftly to secure his party's nomination for the presidency.

Dolan had the backing of Ohio Republicans tied to the establishment, including Governor Mike DeWine and former Senator Rob Portman, whose resignation sparked a crowded Republican primary in 2022. Trump also chose the winner in that race, now-Senator J.D. Vance.

Pivotal Senate race set

Moreno's opponent this November, Sherrod Brown, is among a dying breed in Ohio, which has shifted red in the Trump era.

Brown is seen as among the most vulnerable senators in this year's elections, which are expected to be tough for Senate Democrats.

“We have an opportunity now to retire the old commie, and send him to a retirement home and save this country, because that’s what we’re going to do," Moreno said of Brown Tuesday night.

While Democrats face an uphill climb, the issue of abortion has proven to be a potent weapon for Democrats even in red territory like Ohio.

"The choice ahead of Ohio is clear: Bernie Moreno has spent his career and campaign putting himself first, and would do the same if elected. I’ll always work for Ohio," Brown said.

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