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GOP Senate race gains contender

The crowded field of candidates seeking to succeed U.S. Sen. Rob Portman got more crowded with the announcement that state Sen. Matt Dolan, a Republican, is running for the position.

The decision Monday by Dolan comes as no surprise as he started touring the state July 13 on what he called a listening tour to consider a potential run. He changed his website and Twitter profile late Sunday from exploring a bid to being a candidate.

“After meeting with Republicans, conservative activist and community leaders across Ohio in recent weeks, it’s clear that the focus for U.S. Senate has yet to be about our people, our interests or our beloved state,” Dolan said.

Dolan, of Chagrin Falls, is a two-term state senator and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Before that, he served three terms in the Ohio House. His family owns the Cleveland Indians baseball team.

The other declared Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the 2022 campaign include Josh Mandel, a former state treasurer; former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken; businessmen Bernie Moreno, Mike Gibbons and Mark Pukita; and J.D. Vance, author and venture capitalist.

All have portrayed themselves as being aligned with former President Donald Trump and his beliefs.

While Dolan supported Trump and his policies, he’s also been critical of him, particularly for the former president’s “perpetuated lies about the outcome” of the 2020 election and for his behavior that led to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

In a statement late Monday, Trump blamed Dolan for his family changing the name of the Indians, after this season, to the Guardians.

“Anybody that changes the name of the once-storied Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians should not be running for the United States Senate representing the great people of Ohio,” Trump said.

The former president also said Dolan says he’s “against cancel culture. Do those two things really work together? In any event, I know of at least one person in the race who I won’t be endorsing. The Republican Party has too many RINOs!” — Republicans in name only.

Unlike the other declared Republicans in the Senate race, Dolan supports the $1 billion bipartisan federal infrastructure deal, brokered by Portman.

Seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat are U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland and Morgan Harper, an attorney and activist who lost a 2020 congressional race.

Dolan said, “Ohio is under attack by the socialist agenda pushed by President Joe Biden and Democrats like Tim Ryan and (Senate Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer” and the “stakes of this election could not be greater.”

Ohioans “want a problem-solver who has successfully faced Ohio’s biggest challenges impacting our quality of life, not the political blame game that lacks common sense solutions. I have a proven conservative record of success to meet this moment and to get to work on my first day in the U.S. Senate to put the needs of our state and nation first,” Dolan said.

Michael Beyer, an Ohio Democratic Party spokesman, said “Add Matt Dolan to the long list of out-of-touch millionaires vying for the GOP Senate nomination. With this latest addition to the GOP clown show, this primary is sure to get nastier, more divisive and more expensive all while Ohio voters and their interests get left behind.”

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