Matt Dolan, the Senate candidate who was the biggest surprise to rise during the final weeks of the crowded and explosive race for Ohio’s Republican nomination earlier this year, is taking concrete steps that could set him up for a second straight Senate run. when Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown runs for re-election in 2024.
Dolan, a state senator from the Cleveland area, was showered with support earlier this week during an event in Columbus where he was inducted into the Ohio Commodores Association, an organization that helps the state promote economic growth and prosperity. . The event draws political leaders and activists from across Ohio. According to an aide in the room, Dolan received sustained applause and numerous people came up to pledge their support should he launch a 2024 Senate campaign.
Sources close to Dolan told Fox News that while he hasn’t made a final decision on an offer, he has taken steps in recent weeks to broaden his pool of potential donors and secure senior leadership for his campaign and PAC leadership, in should he go ahead with a bid in the new year.
Dolan, a former state representative who later served as chief deputy county attorney and deputy state attorney general before winning the state senatorship, was a long shot when he launched his Senate bid in the race to succeed retired Republican Sen. Rob Portman.
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While much of the crowded and combustible field of Republican Senate candidates in Ohio showed their allegiance to former President Donald Trump (who carried Ohio by eight points in his 2016 presidential election victory and 2020 re-election loss) and targeted each other, Dolan kept his distance from both the crossfire and Trump while showing off his conservative credentials and agenda.
Dolan, whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Rangers, also shelled out millions of dollars of his own money to run ads for his Senate bid. He emerged near the end of the primary race, winning 23.3% of the vote, just behind former state treasurer Josh Mandel with 23.9%. Former hedge fund executive and best-selling author JD Vance won the early May primary with 32.2% of the vote, thanks in part to a last-minute endorsement from Trump.
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Vance edged out Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in the November general election to win the Senate seat. Ryan, who ran for the Senate this year as a populist outsider in the Brown mold and was credited with a smart campaign, ended up losing to Vance by six points. While Vance won his contest, other Trump-backed Republican candidates for senator or governor in highly competitive races did not fare as well.
Trump-backed Herschel Walker’s loss to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in the crucial runoff election for the Georgia Senate last week was the latest setback for a Republican candidate picked and endorsed by the former president in the midterms. of period. Walker’s loss followed high-profile losses to Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz, Arizona’s Kari Lake and Blake Masters, Wisconsin’s Tim Michels, Nevada’s Adam Laxalt and Michigan’s Tudor Dixon.
Trump, with his endorsement in the Republican primaries of candidates who supported his ongoing litigation of his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, faced a chorus of criticism last month for contributing to the GOP’s lackluster performance in the midterms when they failed to win back control of the Senate and secured only a slim majority in the House in what was expected to be a red wave cycle.
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Some party strategists argue that Dolan, unlike others eyeing a potential Ohio offer, is not burdened by Trump’s distractions, making him a formidable contender against an entrenched three-term incumbent like Brown.
Brown, who is the only Democrat to carry the entire state of Ohio in the past decade, announced shortly after the 2022 midterm elections that he intends to seek re-election. He will be targeted by Republicans in a state that was once a major battleground but has turned red in the past six years.
In a letter he sent to Ohio’s Republican county chairs last month and obtained by Fox News, Dolan signaled his interest in another Senate run, writing that “the time we have for introspection is limited. Before we are Realize it, 2024 will be upon us.” and we have work to do. We must… make sure Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown are sent packing.”
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Dolan sent the email after receiving encouragement from party leaders and activists to consider a second consecutive Senate run, sources told Fox News.
“I’m still deciding and I want to focus on what it takes to win,” Dolan said in an interview with Fox News Digital last month.
“Is it right for the family? Do I have the fire in my stomach to run and serve? And can I make a difference? Once those three boxes are checked, I’ll decide,” Dolan told Fox.
If Dolan runs again, in addition to his ability to self-fund his campaign, it also seems likely that he will enjoy the support of two outside PACs, the Ohio Matters PAC and the Buckeye Leadership Fund.
Dolan’s political strategist, Chris Maloney, said, “Ohio Republicans clearly recognize Matt Dolan’s demonstrated ability to run a well-resourced, grassroots-focused campaign capable of winning a competitive primary and general election. When put to the test, he stuck to his conservative principles, rejected fringe conspiracy theories and never hesitated to put the needs of Ohioans first, establishing a strong base of support across the state as a result. , moving strong in areas that Republicans must win to defeat Sherrod Brown.”
But Dolan is far from the only potential Senate candidate.
Others considering offers or being mentioned as possible Republican candidates include Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, venture capitalist Mark Kvamme, businessman and Republican Senate candidate for 2022, Bernie Moreno, and Rep. Warren Davidson.
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“Ohio is a different state than when Sherrod Brown last ran in 2018,” veteran Ohio-based Republican consultant Mike Hartley told Fox News.
“There are a number of very talented potential candidates who I’m sure are taking the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat very seriously. What looks to be another potentially good Republican year, particularly in Ohio with the presidential race , the opportunity is there for a Republican victory in the Senate.”