In final Senate debate, Ohio GOP candidates each say they’re best to enact Trump policies

The three Ohio Republican U.S. Senate candidates argued on Wednesday about who is the best person to accomplish policies supported by former president Donald Trump and who is the true conservative, while staking out similar positions on abortion, immigration and other issues.

State Sen. Matt Dolan of Chagrin Falls, Secretary of State Frank LaRose of Columbus, and Bernie Moreno, a businessman from Westlake, debated at Miami University in Oxford in front of a crowd of 265 people, including 100 students.

Sheree Paolello, a television news anchor at WLWT-News 5, moderated the debate.

The primary election in Ohio is March 19. The winner of the Republican race will face U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is unopposed in the Democratic Party primary.

“Tonight showed that the Republican candidates are more focused on fighting each other than fighting for Ohio,” Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Katie Smith said in a statement released after the debate. “In between the personal attacks and name calling, each said he would overrule Ohioans by voting for a national abortion ban. Ohioans saw tonight that Moreno, LaRose, and Dolan are only out for themselves.”

LaRose argued that he is the candidate who can be trusted and said Moreno has previously criticized Trump, supported amnesty for immigrants and sat on a board that funded Planned Parenthood. LaRose accused Dolan of supporting liberal policies.

Moreno repeatedly said that he is only candidate endorsed by Trump, who is again running for president and became the defacto nominee after his remaining opponent, Nikki Haley, suspended her campaign this week. Moreno said “Trump is a good man.”

“Do you want a senator that has Trump’s back and has his support. Or do you want a Nikki Haley or Liz Cheney,” said Moreno, who at one point called LaRose “a silly man.”

Dolan said he is the only one who has enacted conservative, Trumpian policies in Ohio, and that he supports Trump for president.

“I’m not reinventing myself,” Dolan said, adding that both LaRose and Moreno have deleted past social media posts.

“I didn’t have to delete my history about President Trump,” Dolan said.

All three candidates support a federal abortion ban.

They also talked about immigration, all contending there is an invasion at the border and blaming it on President Joe Biden. Each of them opposed the bipartisan border security and immigration reform effort that Biden supported but which failed to advance in the U.S. Senate earlier this year after Trump came out against it.

Moreno said he wants all immigrants who are in the country “illegally” deported starting in January 2025. Asked how that would be paid for and how they would be found and deported, Moreno said after the debate that it would be less expensive to find and deport them than what it costs now to have the immigrants here. Moreno said he would start finding the immigrants by going to cities led by Democrats.

Dolan said businesses need the immigrants who are here working but that the border needs sealed temporarily from all new immigration while walls are built and immigration changes enacted, including forcing migrants to remain in Mexico.

LaRose wants to place three military divisions at the southern border for the three months he said it would take to complete a border wall. He would place a lifetime ban on citizenship and birthright citizenship for those who come into the U.S. illegally.

Each was asked what one issue they believe they could reach bipartisan agreement on in if elected senator. Moreno said term limits, LaRose said the national debt and Dolan said the border.

SEE MORE: We have videos of Dolan, Moreno and a spokesman for LaRose taking questions from the media after the debate:

VIDEO: Matt Dolan takes media questions after final U.S. Senate candidate debate

VIDEO: Bernie Moreno takes media questions after final U.S. Senate candidate debate

VIDEO: Frank LaRose spokesman takes media questions after final U.S. Senate candidate debate

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