Ohio Senate race becoming more crowded; Sen. Matt Dolan latest to join

The field of candidates running for Ohio’s open US Senate seat is still growing.

The latest candidate to join the pack is State Senator Matt Dolan, R- Chagrin Falls. He becomes the sixth Republican to enter the race to replace outgoing Senator Rob Portman.

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Unlike the other candidates, Dolan is considered to be more mainstream and is now touting his experience as a problem-solver who, rather than sit back and criticize others, takes action and gets results.

“People want that in Washington. They want somebody and be a doer and not just a talker. And I have a long record of getting involved, getting positive results for Ohio and its clear that’s what Republicans want, somebody to go to Washington and continue to do,” Dolan said in an interview with WHIO-TV.

All of the other candidates for the Republican nomination have already been campaigning for several months.

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Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is the best known of the bunch, sounding very much like former President Trump on social media.

He has actively encouraged people not to follow the advice of health agencies to wear a mask in public to avoid the spread of COVID. 

Author and investor JD Vance is not well known statewide and has never run for office before, but he is well financed. Former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken is making the most of her party connections.

Meanwhile, two northeast Ohio businessmen, Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno are also trying to boost their statewide name recognition.

In such a crowded field of candidates, how can Dolan set himself apart?

“I’m the only one in this race that has engaged issues that impact Ohioans every single day. The issues that I’m going to face in Washington are similar those that I’m going to face in Ohio. I’m the only one with a record of results in the public sector with experience and also has private sector experience,” Dolan said.

Dolan said Miami Valley business leaders know about his leadership on several issues.

He sponsored one of the anti-gun violence bills sought by Gov. Mike DeWine in the wake of the Oregon District shooting. It was not well received by Dolan’s fellow Republican lawmakers.

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Still, Dolan insists business leaders are familiar with his work at the Statehouse.

“Talk with the business folks in Dayton. Ask them who helped them in Columbus. Ask them who sees a vision for Dayton and helped them,” Dolan asked.

The winner of the Republican Primary next May will face the winner of the Democratic Primary, which so far is shaping up to be a two-way race. Congressman Tim Ryan is running against Columbus attorney Morgan Harper.

Miami Valley Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton announced earlier this year that he was giving the Senate race a look.

A staff member confirmed Monday that Turner is still giving it some consideration and has not made a final decision whether to join the Senate race or run for re-election to his House seat.