Donald Trump will not endorse the Ohio Republican Senate primary. At least, not yet. He is still influencing the race.
Trump convinced Bernie Mareno, a Cleveland businessman, to quit the race earlier in the month. There were too many MAGA candidates. In fact, Trump has approved of all the remaining major candidates.
Trump is a decent politician who knows that you shouldn’t get involved in a food fight. He is waiting patiently for the situation to resolve before he gets on the front lines for the May 3 primary.
Others aren’t as reluctant to join the fray. Retiring Sen. Former state Republican Party chair Jane Timken’s candidacy was given a boost by Rob Portman, who endorsed her primary bid. Timken is currently fifth in and polling 9.8%, with Josh Mandel leading the field at 21%. Mike Gibbons, an investment banker, is at 16.4%. Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. is at 21%. Vance is at 14.3% and Matt Dolan, state senator, is at 10%.
After he declared last year that he would not seek reelection, Portman’s endorsement is his. He is now the most popular candidate for the GOP nomination. It includes Timken and J.D. Hillbilly Elegy author Timken. Vance, state treasurer Josh Mandel, Matt Dolan, and Mike Gibbons, an investment banker, are all candidates.
Dolan is the only candidate to not actively seek Trump’s endorsement. Trump has been irritated by the criticisms of Dolan, an ex-prosecutor whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians… err, “Guardians”. Dolan called Trump’s Jan. 6 Capitol Riot a “failure of leadership” and accused him of “perpetuating lies about the outcome of the 2020 election.”
Trump is being cautious. The pro-Trump vote will split with so many MAGA candidates. This gives Dolan, a mega-wealthy candidate, a possibility to win.
Trump is awaiting the outcome of the MAGA election and is waiting to see if it will change. Trump shouldn’t be too optimistic. Mandel, Gibbons, and Vance all have a lot of money and wouldn’t mind dropping out. Timken has just received a shot in his arm with the Portman endorsement.
Perhaps Trump will be able to endorse Ohio later in spring when the ground situation in Ohio is clearer. Until then, Trump-supporting candidates are continuing their mating dances in hopes of securing his endorsement.