Moreno wins primary race for U.S. Senate in Ohio

Bernie Moreno won Ohio’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday and will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in November.

Moreno, a Westlake businessman endorsed by former President Donald Trump, bested state Sen. Matt Dolan of Chagrin Falls and Secretary of State Frank LaRose of Columbus.

With all precincts counted, Moreno had 50.5% of the vote, Dolan 32.9% and LaRose 16.6%, according to final, unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

“I am so grateful for the resounding support of Ohioans in all 88 counties,” Moreno said in a statement. “I thank Matt Dolan and Frank LaRose for a spirited primary contest. I look forward to uniting our party and working to send Sherrod Brown packing in November!”

Moreno will face Brown, a Democrat who has been in the U.S. Senate since 2007 and was unopposed in the Democratic Party primary.

“Ohioans know I have always stood by them to make sure their hard work pays off and will stand up to anyone who gets in the way. 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,” Brown said in a statement. “Elections come down to whose side you’re on, and I’ll always work for Ohio — from standing up to special interests taking advantage of Ohio workers and corporations raising costs for families to making sure our veterans get the healthcare they earned.”

Republicans hoping to gain the majority in the U.S. Senate have targeted Brown’s seat.

The Republican race became increasingly bitter as the three candidates each claimed to be the one who could best accomplish policies supported by Trump. They staked out similar positions on abortion, immigration and other issues, and millions of dollars were spent on ad campaigns by the candidates and their supporters, with the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border taking center stage in many of the ads.

Trump appeared at a rally for Moreno on Saturday at Wright Bros. Aero in Dayton.

In his Tuesday concession speech, Dolan described not winning as a “gut punch” and noted the endorsements he received from former U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

“To have the quality of Rob Portman and the quality of Mike DeWine to look at this race and say they’re willing to put their years of experience behind me, you know, it’s a sad loss tonight,” he told the crowd in Cleveland. “But it’s a personal pride that Rob and Mike DeWine reached out for me.”

In a statement issued Tuesday night, LaRose congratulated Moreno, called for party unity and thanked his supporters.

“A lot of people warned me about getting into a contest with a powerful, entrenched incumbent and two wealthy self-funders. They said I’d be unfairly attacked without the resources to defend my record, that it would damage my personal and political reputation,” LaRose said. “Those opinions just didn’t matter to me as much as the gravity of this moment in our nation’s history. I’ve been clear from the beginning that we have a country to save, and I’ll always fight for America.”

The Ohio Democratic Party also issued a statement about Moreno’s win.

“Bernie Moreno has made clear throughout his career and his campaign that he only looks out for himself — not the people of Ohio,” Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Katie Smith said. “Whether by refusing to pay his employees the overtime they’d earned and deliberately shredding evidence to cover it up, promising to put in place a national abortion ban that would overturn the will of Ohioans, or coming out against the bill to crack down on fentanyl coming from China and Mexico, Moreno has already shown he will not fight for Ohioans.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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