Ohio Sen. Matt Dolan enters U.S. Senate race, bringing establishment voice to GOP primary

The Columbus Dispatch, Gannett Ohio

Sept 20, 2021

Haley BeMiller

Ohio Sen. Matt Dolan plans to officially enter the race for U.S. Senate on Monday, seeking to bring a more traditional voice to a field of Republicans who want to emulate former President Donald Trump.

The move comes months after the Chagrin Falls Republican launched a statewide listening tour to gauge whether voters have the appetite for a candidate like him. The answer, he says, is a resounding yes.

“I’m the only one with experience,” Dolan said in a recent interview. “I’m the only one that has taken smart, conservative principles and produced results for the state of Ohio.”

Dolan, whose family owns the newly renamed Cleveland Guardians, was first elected to represent Ohio’s 24th Senate District in 2016. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he played an integral role in passing a two-year spending plan dubbed the most conservative budget in legislative history.

In many ways, Dolan could not be more different from his Republican opponents.

The race so far has been dominated by a fight over who’s Trumpiest as the candidates aim to secure the former president’s endorsement and appeal to his supporters. They’ve peddled misinformation about COVID-19, railed against “woke culture” and blasted a bipartisan infrastructure package spearheaded by Portman.

Dolan, meanwhile, voted against Ohio’s stand your ground law and joined Gov. Mike DeWine in calling for gun reforms after a mass shooting in Dayton. He opposed the fetal heartbeat abortion bill and legislation that would have required written consent for contact tracing during the pandemic.

“President Trump remains a big influence in the Republican Party, but it’s the Republican ideals that he puts forth that’s resonating with people, and that’s what I’m focused on,” he said.

Dolan was also the only Republican in the Senate race to applaud the infrastructure deal. Other candidates conflated it with a $3.5 trillion spending bill being pushed by Democrats that both Portman and Dolan oppose.

“We’re sent to our respective offices to get these done in the best interest of our constituents,” he said. “Infrastructure is an essential part of economic development in Ohio.”

He also said he wants voters in Ohio to know they can trust him at a time when people are skeptical of government officials. “Tones of campaigns should not be the distinguishing factor for who gets to serve in the U.S. Senate,” he said.

To read the full article in the Columbus Dispatch and Gannett Ohio, click here.