‘I’m not an alarmist,’ Ohio Sec. of State LaRose says as he joins U.S. Senate race

DAYTON — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on Monday publicly made his U.S. Senate candidacy official.

He had been hinting at it for weeks.

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“I’m not an alarmist, but I think that our country is heading in a fundamentally dangerous direction,” he said to News Center 7′s John Bedell on Monday afternoon. “We see our fellow Ohioans are struggling because the cost of everything is up, but wages are not keeping pace with that.

“Unfortunately, Senator [Sherrod] Brown and President Biden think that the solution to a failing economy like that is to hire a bunch of new IRS agents and to spend trillions of dollars of federal dollars. I think that actually exacerbates the problem and makes it worse. I believe that unleashing the free market economy so that Ohio families can prosper, that’s the engine of human prosperity.

“And that’s the approach that I took during eight years in the state Senate. And that’s what I’ll do in the U.S. Senate,” LaRose said to Bedell.*

LaRose’s candidacy changes the race considerably, said Mark Caleb Smith, Ph.D., director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University.

“I think he emerges as the favorite, although not the clear odds on favorite, but I would certainly say the favorite in the race right now,” Smith said.

“He has a significant biography, elected to statewide office two times in Ohio as a Republican and has done a pretty good job, I think, maintaining his conservative bona fides without necessarily alienating different parts of the party.”

LaRose now is the third Republican who has announced a Senate bid and all three -- he, state Sen. Matt Dolan and businessman Bernie Moreno -- will face off in the March 2024 primary.

The winner will take on incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in November. Brown is seeking his fourth term in office.

“He will be a very difficult incumbent, I think, for any of these folks to defeat,” Smith. “But the trend of the electorate in Ohio certainly tilting in the red direction. Which is going to make this a real fight.”

The deadline for candidates to enter Ohio’s U.S. Senate race is Dec. 20.

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