Brown Cruises in Ohio Democratic Senate Primary as Republicans Await Result


Senator Sherrod Brown, the only Democrat still holding statewide elective office in Ohio, was renominated for his Senate seat on Tuesday, as three Republicans duked it out for the right to challenge the incumbent in November.

The winner of the Republican slugfest among Bernie Moreno, a wealthy former car dealer with former President Donald J. Trump’s endorsement, State Senator Matt Dolan, whose family is the majority owner of the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, and Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, will enter the general election depleted of cash and bruised by the negative primary campaign.

But he will also be running in a state Mr. Trump won in back-to-back presidential elections, in 2016 and 2020, each time by eight percentage points.

Mr. Brown, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, evinced little concern over his third re-election bid or which Republican would prevail in the primary. The Democrat has made his reputation as a pro-worker politician who has stood against free-trade agreements and stood for unions in a state where the working class has drifted to the G.O.P. since Barack Obama won it twice.

“We will spend this campaign contrasting my position on taking on Wall Street, my position on taking on the drug companies, my position on trade with theirs,” he told reporters on Monday in Dayton, Ohio.

With control of the Senate within Republicans’ reach, Ohio and Montana — the only states where Mr. Trump won in 2020 and a Democrat is standing for re-election — promise to attract huge attention. Democrats hold 51 Senate seats, but one of those, in deep-red West Virginia, is virtually gone with the retirement of the conservative Democrat Joe Manchin III.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with the Senate Republican leadership, and an allied group, American Crossroads, have reserved nearly $83 million worth of advertising time this fall in Ohio.

But Mr. Brown, whose fund-raising has raked in money not only from unions that are steadfastly loyal to him but also from corporations that have business before the Senate Banking Committee, which he chairs, will have firepower of his own. His campaign has raised at least $26.7 million this election cycle, and has $13.5 million cash on hand.

In contrast, Mr. Moreno and Mr. Dolan had each spent down their war chests to less than $2.4 million by the end of February. Mr. LaRose was below $600,000.

On the Republican side, rarely has a primary contest so clearly divided the old-line Republican establishment from the new Trump wing of the party. Mr. Dolan had the backing of Ohio’s understated Republican governor, Mike DeWine, and its recently retired moderate senator, Rob Portman. Mr. Moreno had Mr. Trump, counting on the former president to deliver another loyal foot soldier to the Senate.

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