Independent Survey Shows Matt Dolan “Most Competitive” Against Sherrod Brown

Dolan & LaRose in Statistical Tie, Moreno a Distant Third

The race for U.S. Senate in Ohio has its first independent survey. East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research found that Matt Dolan is the “most competitive” Republican challenger to the 18-year Senate incumbent Sherrod Brown. Brown takes 45% of the vote with Matt Dolan at 44%.

In the head-to-head primary match up, Dolan garners the highest percentage among announced GOP candidates for U.S. Senate. In a hypothetical three-way race, Dolan and Frank LaRose are statistically tied. Bernie Moreno falls to a distant third place in the contest.

“When the poll asked Republican primary voters to indicate which of the Republican Senate candidates that they supported to challenge Senator Brown, a majority of the respondents answered that they are currently undecided (58%). The Trump-backed Frank LaRose has a slight lead over Matt Dolan, 17% to 14%, with Bernie Moreno placing third in the poll at 7%, and the remaining indicating support for some other Republican candidate,” the polling memo said.

The first independent survey in the contest follows a recent analysis from Cook Political Report that also called Matt Dolan the “most formidable” candidate against Sherrod Brown. It also highlighted Bernie Moreno’s “warning signs” and “inexperience.”

But Moreno’s campaign trail inexperience was on display last week just days into his candidacy. Appearing at a campaign launch, the Cleveland businessman suggested that there should be reparations for descendants of white Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War, alluding to the ongoing debate over reparations for descendants of enslaved Black people. “They talk about reparations. Where are the reparations for the people, for the North, who died to save the lives of Black people?” Moreno said. “I know it’s not politically correct to say that, but you know what, we’ve got to stop being politically correct. “That same group of people later, white people, died to free Black people,” Moreno continued. “It’s never happened in human history before, but it happened here in America. That’s not talked about in schools very much, is it? They make it sound like America is a racist, broken country. You name a country that did that, that freed slaves, died to do that.” …  Ohio Republicans we talked to saw it as a warning sign he may not be ready for primetime.

Moreno has never been a real candidate and he could be mistake-prone,” one strategist told us. “If you’re a serious candidate, you don’t say those kind of things tongue-in-cheek,” the source added. Another Buckeye strategist told us that while Trump may be able to get away with comments like that, “it doesn’t mean somebody else can do that and be successful.”

Cook Report also offered the following comments on Frank LaRose’s long history as a self-described “pragmatic moderate,” who is also actively soliciting money from national donors in support of a Senate bid: “LaRose is also expected to join the fray, but the ideological chameleon could have issues competing with two self-funders.”

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