Trump, top allies make closing pitch for Sherrod Brown challenger Bernie Moreno in Ohio Senate race


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VANDALIA, OH – Thousands of Ohioans braved strong winds at a Dayton, Ohio-area airport on Saturday to watch former President Donald Trump stump for Ohio GOP Senate candidate Bernie Moreno, where the pair made the case that Moreno is the best option to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in a battle that pits the establishment against the MAGA agenda.

Ohio needs to defeat your horrendous radical left, Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, who pretends he’s my best friend,” Trump told the crowd near the start of his speech. “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.”

“He’s not with me, and the day he gets out, he votes with Biden all the time, and if you vote with Biden this country is finished, I’ll tell you right now.”

Brown, the only Democrat elected statewide in Ohio in the past decade, will face the winner of Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary in November in one of only three Senate races Cook Political Report ranks as a “toss up” opportunity for Republicans to take back control of the Senate.

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Moreno, Trump shaking hands

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets Ohio Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Bernie Moreno during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio.  The rally was hosted by the Buckeye Values PAC.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“With your vote, we’re going to take back the Senate,” Trump said. “We’re going to win Ohio in November. We’re going to win by a lot.”

Trump hit on immigration harder than any other issue in Ohio, where polling shows that illegal immigration is a top concern in the state, along with the economy. 

“Among my very first actions upon taking office will be to stop the invasion of our country and send Joe Biden’s illegal aliens back home,” Trump — who invoked the name of Laken Riley multiple times during the speech — told the crowd. 

“These are the roughest people you’ve ever seen. You know, now we have a new form of crime. I call it Biden migrant crime, but it’s too long, so let’s just call it migrant crime. We have a new category. You know, you have vicious crimes, you have violent crimes. You have all these, now we have migrant crimes, and they’re rough. They’re rough.”

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Donald Trump wearing a red make america great again hat

Former President Donald Trump (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

According to recent polling, Moreno supporters say that their top concern is immigration, and the Ohio businessman seemed to strike a chord on that issue with the crowd during his remarks.

“If you’re in this country illegally… listen… starting in January of 2025, you will be deported,” Moreno said, eliciting a cheer from the crowd.

On stage, Moreno made the case that his primary race is a battle between political outsiders and the establishment, similar to Trump’s messaging in the past.

Look at what happened in 2017,” Moreno told his audience. “President Trump took office and fought Republicans just as much as he fought Democrats over and over again.”

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Moreno on campaign trail

Ohio GOP Senate candidate Bernie Moreno  (AP Photo/Joe Maiorana, File)

“They’ve let us down. And I understand. I got to understand why that is. They care more about the job and their advancement in their career and making money being a public servant instead of taking care of this country. This is the issue in this election. This is the last gasp of breath of the swamp RINO establishment in Ohio. And I need you on Tuesday to stab it right in the heart and make it clear that in Ohio, we put America first.”

Moreno faces off against Ohio Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Ohio Republican State Sen. Matt Dolan on Tuesday in a race that has gotten increasingly hostile as it winds down, with polling this week showing 20-30% of voters still undecided.

Ohio GOP Sen. J.D. Vance endorsed Moreno and stumped for him on Saturday, making the case that like Trump, he, too, goes against the GOP establishment. 

“Do we need a senator who answers to the people of the state of Ohio?” Vance asked the crowd. “Yes, we do. Do we need a senator who will not compromise with the D.C. swamp, but will fight the D.C. swamp? That’s Bernie Moreno.”

Over the past several months, each of the Republican candidates have attacked one other over who is the most conservative, pointing to past public statements and positions they argue don’t fit with Trump’s agenda. Various polls have showed each of the candidates leading the race at one point or another.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan spoke with Fox News Digital at the rally and explained why he believes Moreno is the best candidate to face Brown, who, he says, “talks one way” when “he’s at home,” but then votes with Biden in Washington, D.C.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is seen during Senate votes in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

He’s a fighter,” Jordan said, adding he believes Moreno is in a good position to win in November. “He’s got an amazing story. He’s from an immigrant family who came here legally, did things the right way, lived the American dream — a successful business guy. So, I think he’s just the kind of guy we need and is going to be such a compliment to Senator Vance in the United States Senate.”

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who also endorsed Moreno, argued that he is the “only one” that can “beat Sherrod Brown this fall.”  

“He’ll beat Sherrod, and he will beat him bad, and it will be amazing,” she said. 

Trump told the wind-battered crowd on Saturday night that there was “tremendous spirit” behind him in 2016 and 2020, but there’snever been spirit like we have now.”

I love being with you — this is a special place to me. We’ve won every single time. Vote for Bernie Moreno. He’s a great guy,” Trump said at the conclusion of his speech. “He’ll be a great, great senator.”



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