On Monday, Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine chose to endorse State Senator Matt Dolan over Trump’s anointed candidate and businessman Bernie Moreno, in the state’s three-way GOP primary race for a Senate seat.

DeWine has called Dolan the party’s best shot at defeating Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown at the senate elections in November.

He listens, He fights!

Sherrod Brown is seen as one of the Democrats most likely to lose his Senate seat in the upcoming election. Meanwhile, Matt Dolan positions himself as a moderate Republican and the sole candidate in his primary who didn’t actively seek Trump’s support.

Source: Ohio Senate

Governor DeWine and his wife Fran penned a letter urging Ohioans to vote for Dolan. They lauded Dolan for his “service, experience, and integrity,” and wrote: “He listens. He fights. And, he knows how to get results for Ohio.”

Divided Republican Support

DeWine’s choice highlights ongoing differences between traditional Republicans in Ohio and the growing influence of pro-Trump Republicans, who strongly supported him in two presidential elections. Ohio’s GOP was the first to endorse Trump this year.

Source: Linkedin/Frank LaRose

Just two weeks ago, DeWine said he wouldn’t endorse anyone in the primary, which includes Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. But as the March 19 primary approached and no clear frontrunner emerged, with many Republican voters still undecided, DeWine changed his stance.

A Thumbs-Up From Portman

Republican Matt Dolan also got a thumbs-up from former U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in the intense three-way primary against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown this autumn. Portman’s support could be a big help as the race gets closer.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

The Cincinnati Republican and his wife, Jane have penned a letter to fellow Ohioans. In it, they mentioned that Dolan’s “conservative record of accomplishment and his commitment to continue to focus on achieving results in the U.S. Senate set him apart” from his rivals, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Trump-endorsed Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno.

Dolan Is Our Choice

The Portmans also lauded LaRose and Moreno and said they are also “good people, who care deeply about our state,” but Dolan, a Cleveland-area state senator, is their pick of the bunch.

Source: Drew Angerer

“America faces tremendous challenges,” they wrote, “and it is more important than ever that we elect leaders who embody conservative values and principles and have a track record of getting things done.”

Portman A Key Figure In Ohio Politics

All three Senate candidates wanted Rob Portman’s support. He’s seen as a moderate and well-respected in Republican circles, known for his ability to make deals across party lines.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Portman played a key role in negotiating the $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Biden in 2021. Before his retirement in 2021, Portman served as a federal budget director and U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush.

Portman’s Senate Saga and Dolan’s Endorsement Dilemma

He served in the Senate from 2011 to 2023 but stepped down due to frustration with the political gridlock in Washington. Last year, he started a center at the University of Cincinnati focused on promoting civility in politics.

Source: X/CuyaLandBank

When Matt Dolan first ran for Senate in 2022, he hoped to get Rob Portman’s endorsement because he saw himself as a moderate pragmatist like Portman. Sadly, it didn’t turn out as he hoped and Portman endorsed Jane Timken, a former chair of the Ohio Republican party instead.

Timken’s Tough Break

Despite his support, Timken started out strong but finished fifth in a crowded field totaling less than 6% of the vote. Donald Trump’s support helped author and venture capitalist JD Vance win that race.

Source: Columbus Dispatch/Barbara J. Perenic

This year, the field is much smaller. Dolan only has to battle with LaRose for the votes necessary to outperform the Moreno campaign’s support among Ohio’s strong Trump alliance.

Portman’s Support Could Be Vital

Portman’s popularity in southwest Ohio might help Dolan as the primary on March 19 approaches. Dolan is well-known in Cleveland because his family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, but that’s also where Moreno has a lot of support.

Source: Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP

LaRose is originally from Akron but has been living in Columbus since he started his statewide job. He’s been elected statewide twice and is best known in the race because of his important role as the state’s elections chief.

Dolan Praises Portman’s Service

Dolan praised Portman for his public service in a statement, saying he “showed that a good public servant not only delivers results but also safeguards the inheritance of future generations.”

Source: X/@robportman

DeWine’s decision is unlikely to harm Moreno much, as Moreno heavily relies on Trump’s endorsement. However, it could affect LaRose more. LaRose, a former Green Beret and two-term state official, has been working hard to stand out in the race.

LaRose Points To Wealth Gap

He’s pointed out again and again that Moreno and Dolan are millionaires, financing their campaigns with $10 million combined, while he describes himself as just a “thousandaire.”

Source: X/FrankLaRose

Moreno made his fortune in Cleveland, first with luxury car sales and later in blockchain technology. Meanwhile, Dolan’s family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team.

Moreno Receives Backing From Top Figures

Moreno also campaigned on Monday across central Ohio with Trump-backed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. “I will do everything I can to help him win and save this country,” Noem said as she formally offered her endorsement before Trump took the stage.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

He’s also received backing on the campaign trail from prominent Trump supporters like Donald Trump Jr. Other endorsements include Ohio’s Trump-supported Republican Senator JD Vance, pro-Trump congressman Jim Jordan, Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Dolan Pleased To Have Support From Actual Conservatives

After Portman endorsed Dolan, his campaign stated that they were pleased to have the support of “actual conservatives.” LaRose’s campaign didn’t respond to DeWine’s choice.

Source: Linkedin/Bill Albright, MPA

However, DeWine’s decision hinted that even strong conservative support might not be sufficient against Brown. Brown has been a consistently elected senator in Ohio for three terms and is considered one of the state’s most dependable politicians for many years.

DeWine’s Long Political History

DeWine also has a long history in politics, serving as a state legislator, congressman, U.S. senator, and lieutenant governor. He won reelection in 2022 by a big margin, winning 85 out of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock

Republicans think Brown, who’s one of the Senate’s most liberal members, could lose this year because people aren’t happy with President Biden, who’s from the same party, and Ohio has been leaning more towards the political right lately.