Ohio Republican Weighing Senate Bid Privately Questioned The Power Of Trump Endorsements: REPORT


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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Ohio Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is considering a Senate run in 2024, privately expressed doubts as to the power of former President Donald Trump’s endorsements, according to Politico.

LaRose, who is considering running to de-seat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, was recorded at a private Ohio GOP event in late April saying that Trump endorsements don’t hold the same weight as they used to, according to Politico. LaRose said that while an endorsement “matters,” he believes that only 20% of GOP voters would vote for anyone the former president endorses.

“There is another 20 percent that care about who he endorses but that’s not going to be the decision maker. And then there’s probably another 60 percent of the party that doesn’t care who he endorses,” LaRose said in the recording.

LaRose mentioned that he believes he could get the Trump endorsement if he takes the plunge into the race, but isn’t going to beg for it, according to the recording. The secretary of state would join conservative businessman Bernie Moreno and state Sen. Matt Dolan in the GOP primary as they vie to challenge Brown.

“There’s also this game some play where they hire a bunch of former Trump people and then they think, ‘Oh, if I hire this person, I’ll get their endorsement.’ The president is generally smarter than that, he’s not going to fall for that,” LaRose said. “He’s going to endorse the candidate who has the best chance of beating Sherrod Brown.”

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND – MAY 01: Former U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks his plane “Trump Force One” at Aberdeen Airport on May 1, 2023 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Former U.S. President Donald Trump is visiting Scotland as he faces legal actions in the United States. Early April, Trump had pled not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.

“Frank simply said what we already know,” Rob Nichols, spokesperson for LaRose, told the DCNF. “Endorsements are great, but you won’t unseat a 48-year incumbent politician with a list of endorsements. We need a candidate who can win, and we need to wage a contest of ideas and vision that not only unites the entire Republican Party but also a majority of Ohioans. If he runs, that’s what he’ll offer.”

While Trump has yet to officially endorse a Republican candidate in this Senate race, he pushed for Moreno — whose son-in-law is GOP Ohio Rep. Max Miller, a former Trump administration official — to enter the primaries, according to Politico. LaRose said in the recording that Miller has been encouraging the former president to come out and endorse Moreno.

“Max has been making trips down to Mar-a-Lago saying hey Mr. Trump, President Trump, can you endorse my father-in-law? Notice that [Trump] didn’t endorse him but he said nice things about him,” LaRose said. “I can even picture it in my mind they’re sitting in the president’s office in Mar-a-Lago and he says, ‘You know, I’m not ready to endorse yet, you got a lot more time, you don’t have strong name ID, you haven’t any raised money yet, I’ll just say some nice things about your father in law on Twitter or Truth Social or whatever and then let’s talk about an endorsement six months from now.’”

A source close to Moreno denied LaRose’s comments regarding Miller’s attempts to persuade Trump into endorsing his father-in-law, and insisted Moreno has formed his own personal relationship with the former president, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Republican Businessman Files Paperwork To Run For Senate Against Ohio Dem)

LaRose received a Trump endorsement in 2022 when he ran for secretary of state, though LaRose has not yet backed the former president for the 2024 election, according to Politico. Dolan has also refrained from endorsement, with Moreno being the only contender to announce support for another Trump presidency.

“President Trump is the most powerful endorsement in all of GOP politics — full stop,” Conor McGuinness, spokesperson for Moreno, told the DCNF.

Miller did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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