MAGA-endorsed Bernie Moreno set to square off against incumbent Sherrod Brown in critical Ohio Senate race

Trump backed Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno will face Democrat incumbent Sherrod Brown in a November race that could decide the balance of power in the Senate.

MAGA-endorsed Bernie Moreno set to square off against incumbent Sherrod Brown in critical Ohio Senate race

Trump-endorsed businessman Bernie Moreno moved on in the Ohio GOP Senate primary on Tuesday night, setting up a match-up with entrenched Democrat incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown in a race that is expected to focus on Brown's support of President Biden and Democrat concerns over the MAGA agenda.  

Moreno defeated his two Republican opponents on Tuesday after campaigning on his status as a political outsider and former President Trump's endorsement in a state that Trump carried by 8 points in 2020 and that political experts believe is one of the GOP's best opportunities to inch closer to taking back control of the U.S. Senate.

In the days leading up to the election, Moreno, Trump, and their allies signaled they would focus their attacks on the perception that Brown is a "moderate" and argue that he is in fact a rubber stamp for Biden.

"Ohio needs to defeat your horrendous radical left, Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, who pretends he's my best friend," Trump told Moreno supporters at a Dayton area rally over the weekend.  "He pretends he's my best friend until he gets in, and then he goes radical left all the time. You know, if you listen to his commercials, he sounds like he's running with Trump. He's not."


While Brown is expected to attempt to thread the needle between being a Democrat and running in a now dependably red state, he carries a record of voting with Biden nearly 100% of the time.

Moreno has already signaled he plans to focus on Biden's low approval numbers and polling that shows dissatisfaction with the economy.  

"He's never been up against somebody who was well-resourced," Moreno recently told "Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy." "He's never been up against somebody who had an actual contrast between him and the candidate and, most importantly, he's never been up where he's at the top of the ticket versus President Trump."


"So Sherrod Brown has got to overcome his attachment to Biden, his terrible record. People are going to vote with [their] pocketbook in November, and this is going to be the time we finally retire him."

On Tuesday night following his victory, Moreno took direct aim at Brown referring to him as a "commie" and rejecting the idea that he has fought for the middle-class during his tenure.

"Think about it, this guy been in office since Richard Nixon was president," Moreno said. "This guy's been in elected office, never had a job in the private sector, and what does he do? He says he advocates for working-class Americans."

"So let's dissect that for a second," Moreno continued. "Under Sherrod Brown's watch, China has gone from a $4 billion trade deficit to a $235 billion a year trade deficit with America. The middle class in this country has shrank under his watch, we've lost factory after factory under his watch. We are now, with his leadership, so called, of the Senate Banking Committee, we've seen a absolute obliteration of local and small and regional banks. That's all happening under Sherrod Brown's watch."

Brown is expected to position himself as a candidate who works across the aisle, hammer Moreno on his attachment to President Trump, and continue the Democrat strategy of labeling Republicans as extremists on abortion. 

"I watched three rich guys, three millionaires, who have spent already combined more than $25 million to shall we say win this Senate seat, no mention of the cost of prescription drugs, no mention of manufacturing jobs, the dignity of  work, no mention of pensions or veterans, no mention of really how to secure the border," Brown said.

"The one substantive thing that they did say is they all stand with a national abortion ban even though Ohio voters…by 13 points said they want reproductive rights for Ohioans. So, the debate didn't really surprise me but didn't really deal with issues that affect Ohioans every day."


Brown has criticized Moreno and his GOP opponents on abortion several times on social media during the primary campaign.

"Bernie Moreno thinks women need help with their baby strollers, not access to abortion," Brown posted on X responding to a comment from Moreno arguing that he is "pro-mom" and "pro-family" when it comes to abortion.

Abortion has been a hot button issue in the Buckeye State over the past year leading up to a November election where Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to enshrine abortion access into the state's Constitution.

Moreno will transition from a primary race where he made the case he was the most conservative candidate on abortion to a general election race where abortion access has proven to be popular with voters.

Brown lost three suburban counties in 2018 including Butler County, Delaware County, and Licking County. The abortion access referendum won in all three of those continues last November. In Clermont County and Warren County, where the abortion vote narrowly lost, the vote outperformed Brown's 2018 percentage by double digits.

Trump carried all five of those counties in 2020.

Ohio is one of 3 states that the Cook Political Report ranks as a "toss up" as Republicans attempt to take back control of the Senate in November.

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. 

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