Cleveland businessman jumps into Ohio Senate race: Trump ‘victories’ need to be protected

Bernie Moreno

Ohio Republican Bernie Moreno on Tuesday launched his campaign to fill the Senate seat that will be vacated by GOP Sen. Rob Portman, jumping into a growing primary race for one of the country’s marquee Senate contests.

Moreno, a Cleveland businessman, rolled out his bid in a more than two-minute video in which he cast himself as an outsider in the mold of former President Trump and a fighter against the “socialist left.” 

“I’m running to represent the people of Ohio in the United States Senate to protect the American dream for the next generation. If we’re going to protect this country from the socialist left and keep this precious idea built on the concept of freedom, we need outsiders who back up their words with action,” he said, adding that he would not take corporate PAC donations and supports term limits on lawmakers in Washington.

“Four years ago, we sent Donald J. Trump, an outsider and businessman, to Washington to shake things up, and he did. We need to protect his victories,” he added.

Moreno’s campaign launch targeted a slew of Democrats, including President Biden, Vice President Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), as well as numerous corporations that conservatives have railed against for what they see as silencing GOP voices. 

“I came from a country surrounded by the ideology of radicals like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara who promised to give everyone all they needed and solve all their problems just like Bernie Sanders and AOC are doing today,” said Moreno, who came to the U.S. as a child from Colombia. 

“That’s the exact opposite of American democracy and the American dream. But Biden, Harris, the extreme left, their allies in the media, big tech and universities push socialism at every turn, using cancel culture to completely silence us,” he added. 

Moreno is just the latest Republican to throw his hat in the ring to replace Portman, who will be leaving the Senate at the end of his second term in 2023.

Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken have already launched their own campaigns. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and 2018 Ohio Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons have also launched listening tours in an apparent buildup to a possible campaign.

The race for Portman’s Senate seat is expected to be hotly contested by both parties in the 2022 midterms. Ohio has long been considered a battleground, though it has trended Republican in recent years, with Trump winning the state by about 8 points in both 2016 and 2020.

Moreno is already getting support from prominent Republicans, with top Trump ally and former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell backing his bid.

“Bernie Moreno will be the D.C. outsider who won’t be concerned what the Washington types think of him. Just like President Donald J. Trump did, Bernie Moreno will challenge the political system and establishment of D.C.,” Grenell, who serves as chairman of the Moreno campaign’s national steering committee, told Fox News

Fox News first reported on Moreno’s candidacy Monday.

No prominent Democrat has formally launched a campaign for Portman’s seat yet, though Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) has publicly expressed interest in the race.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Turner Richard Grenell Rob Portman Tim Ryan

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