Republican Bernie Moreno, who ran for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination in Ohio, will formally announce a 2024 campaign in the coming days.
A source close to Moreno confirms that the businessman is expected to formally announce his candidacy next week. Moreno filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Monday as a first step toward launching a campaign in the hopes of taking on Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown next year in a race that could determine if the GOP wins back the Senate majority.
Moreno, a successful Cleveland-based businessman and luxury auto dealership giant who shelled out millions of his own money to run TV commercials to try and boost his Senate bid, suspended his first Senate campaign in February last year after requesting and holding a private meeting with former President Donald Trump.
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The crowded and combustible 2022 GOP Senate nomination in Ohio was eventually won by former hedge fund executive and best-selling author JD Vance, who landed Trump’s endorsement just before last May’s primary. Vance went on to defeat longtime Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan in last November’s general election to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.
Moreno, an immigrant who arrived in the U.S. legally from Colombia with his family as a boy, made border security a top issue during his 2022 Senate campaign and visited the U.S.-Mexico border
“Today, Bernie filed paperwork with the FEC as he continues to explore a run for U.S. Senate,” the source told Fox News on Monday night. “Over the past few weeks, Bernie has talked with voters, business leaders, conservative activists and donors throughout the state and has received overwhelming encouragement to run.”
Moreno becomes the second prominent Republican in Ohio and the second GOP candidate from the 2022 cycle to launch a 2024 Senate campaign, following state Sen. Matt Dolan. The former top county prosecutor and Ohio assistant attorney general last week toured the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona to draw attention to his home state’s fentanyl crisis and the flow of drugs over nation’s southern border.
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Dolan — whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians — also shelled out millions of dollars of his own money to run ads for his 2022 Senate bid. He surged near the end of the primary race, coming in third, just behind former state Treasurer Josh Mandel.
The winner of next year’s GOP primary will challenge Brown, who’s the only Democrat to win statewide in Ohio in the past decade. Brown will be heavily targeted by Republicans in a state that was once a premiere battleground but has shifted red over the past six years.
Rep. Warren Davidson and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose are among other Republicans considering Senate bids.
Democrats currently control the U.S. Senate with a 51-49 majority, but Republicans are looking at a very favorable Senate map in 2024, with Democrats defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs. Three of those seats are in red states that Trump carried in 2020: Ohio, Montana and West Virginia. Five others are in key swing states narrowly carried by Biden in 2020: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
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