Trump’s Shadow Looms Large in Ohio Senate Showdown: Who Will Prevail?

In 's Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, Trump's name may not appear on the ballot, but his influence looms large.

The former president, who is also the presumed 2024 Republican presidential nominee, has thrown his support behind , a former car dealer and blockchain entrepreneur.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (Image source: Twitter)

This endorsement has turned the race into a closely watched showdown, with recent polls showing Moreno and state Sen. Matt Dolan neck and neck.

While Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is also vying for the nomination, he has struggled to garner the same level of attention and resources as Dolan and Moreno. Several prominent figures, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, and Sen. JD Vance, have rallied behind Moreno in the final stretch of the campaign.

However, Dolan has received support from Republicans cautious of Trump's influence, such as Gov. Mike DeWine and former . This sets the stage for a clash between Trump's movement and Ohio's traditional GOP establishment.

Interestingly, even among Trump's staunch supporters, there are those who are backing Dolan. East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway, for instance, expressed support for Dolan, citing his assistance during a local crisis.

The winner of the primary will face Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in the general election, a contest crucial for determining control of the Senate. Given that Brown is one of the few Democratic incumbents running in states won by Trump, both parties are expected to invest heavily in the Ohio race.

The primary campaign has been marked by intense competition and underscores the high stakes for November. Trump's last-minute appearance at a rally for Moreno highlights the close association between the two, with Moreno featuring Trump in his ads even before securing his formal endorsement.

Dolan, whose family has a background in the cable television industry and owns a Major League Baseball franchise, has poured significant personal funds into his campaign. He has presented himself as a proponent of “Trump policies” while distancing himself from Trump's persona.

In response to Dolan's surge, a Democratic PAC has launched a substantial ad campaign aimed at boosting Moreno's candidacy. This reflects concerns about Dolan's potential strength in the general election, particularly in heavily Democratic areas.

The seeds of this primary battle were sown in the 2022 Senate primary, won by JD Vance. Moreno briefly entered the race then but withdrew after failing to secure Trump's endorsement. Dolan, who did not actively seek Trump's backing, faced criticism from Trump over a family rebranding effort.

The attacks on Dolan have intensified as the primary approached, with Trump renewing his criticism and characterizing Dolan as out of touch with Republican values. The outcome of this primary will not only shape the future of Ohio politics but also serve as a barometer of Trump's continuing influence within the Republican Party.

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