SLUGFEST SHOWDOWN: 2 Days Until First #OHSEN Primary Debate
October 12, 2023
As The Showdown Approaches, Here’s The #OHSEN Slugfest’s Top 10
Columbus, OH – With 2 days left until Bernie Moreno, Frank LaRose, and Matt Dolan meet behind closed doors at a country club for their first field-wide primary debate, we’re revisiting their top ten messiest and bruising slugfest moments. As the showdown approaches, it’s crystal clear no candidate in this field is fighting for Ohioans.
The #OHSEN Slugfest’s Top 10:
1. Frank LaRose becomes Ohio’s biggest loser after an August amendment designed to silence Ohioans – which LaRose made himself the face of – flopped.
The Messenger: “The biggest loser in the fight over this issue is Secretary of State Frank LaRose.”
Cleveland.com: “For Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the father of Issue 1, the damage may prove irreparable. The man charged with administering Ohio elections, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, wasted about $16 million of our money in an attempt to disembowel participatory democracy. Some political humiliations last forever.”
The Columbus Dispatch: “LaRose is barreling into the 2024 U.S. Senate primary with the cloud of Issue 1 above his head.”
2. Bernie Moreno calls for a government shutdown, despite the significant impact a shutdown would have on Ohioans – including forcing nearly 53,000 Ohioans to either be furloughed or work without pay.
3. Frank LaRose forces Ohioans to foot his $600,000 bill to move the official Secretary of State office to his campaign HQ, refuses to answer questions about wasting taxpayer dollars despite calls from Ohioans, state lawmakers, and media outlets.
Toledo Blade: “Ohio Secretary of State’s offenses pile up
Ohio Capital Journal: “Ohio Sec. of State LaRose’s office move amid U.S. Senate candidacy raises ethical questions”
4. After saying months earlier he wouldn’t “write [himself] a big fat check,” Bernie Moreno decides after all to try to buy Ohio’s Senate seat. Then, Matt Dolan – who has already self-funded $7 million this cycle – attacked Moreno and escalated the slugfest.
The Messenger: “However, the Dolan campaign is taking aim at Moreno and highlighting his past comments that he wouldn’t self-fund his campaign. This quarter, Moreno loaned his campaign $3 million.”
Bernie Moreno months before he wrote himself a $3 million check: “I won’t do what my opponent’s doing. I will not – well first of all, it’s my money vs. his family’s money, big difference by the way. But I’m not going to take personal wealth and buy a Senate seat. It’s not good for democracy.”
5. A bombshell report outlines that the Secretary of State’s office is in disarray and is “plagued” by turnover as LaRose’s “sole-focus” becomes his campaign for Senate – the latest example of LaRose continuously putting his political ambitions ahead of Ohioans and the job he was elected to do.
Columbus Dispatch: “In recent months, a dozen officials in LaRose’s office who handled elections, communications and other duties have left, taking with them years of experience in running Ohio’s elections. But the staffing problems extend even further, leading to delays and communication problems with local boards of elections… Three other former employees say the source of these problems is management laser-focused on electing LaRose as Ohio’s next U.S. senator and unwilling to listen to seasoned election experts.”
6. The entire #OHSEN field supports dangerous abortion bans – including bans without exceptions for rape or incest.
Bernie Moreno: “I’m 100 percent pro-life with no exceptions.”
Frank LaRose: “I’m pro-life and if a pro-life measure comes before the Senate, then I would vote as a pro-life American.”
Matt Dolan on Roe v Wade being overturned: “As a pro-life… person, it is exciting.”
7. Matt Dolan was exposed for using a “cheap loan” and too-good-to-be-true sweetheart deal to bankroll his Senate campaign days after a report showed Dolan is using his PAC to funnel money to his campaign consultants instead of supporting Republican candidates as he promised.
Cleveland.com: “The Morgan Stanley financing speaks to some of the financial gateways available to wealthy politicians but closed to most of the constituents they represent.”
The Columbus Dispatch: “But more than one year after its launch, Ohio Matters has spent more money on Dolan’s campaign consultants than candidates. And Dolan, who’s part of the wealthy family that owns the Cleveland Guardians, never made the personal contribution he promised when the PAC kicked off.”
8. Frank LaRose rewrites the ballot language for the November amendment, which would overturn Ohio’s current restrictive abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest, to mislead and trick Ohioans. LaRose also admits he would overrule Ohioans by voting for a national abortion ban.
WXVU: “Now, the Republican majority of his five-member Ohio Ballot Board — chaired by LaRose and tasked with the job of approving ballot language — stands accused of trying to stack the deck against the abortion rights amendment by inserting what abortion rights groups call misleading, inaccurate and inflammatory language into what should be a simple statement of fact.”
Ohio Capital Journal: “Frank LaRose, the public servant responsible for conducting free and fair elections in Ohio is playing dirty to win. It’s wrong.”
9. After LaRose sparked chaos by calling on his primary opponents to financially support the August amendment, Bernie Moreno poured gasoline on the infighting in the Ohio Senate slugfest by blaming LaRose for the August amendment’s flop and admitting it was “100%” about abortion.
Bernie Moreno: “The one thing I would knock Frank on is that he said it’s ‘100% about abortion’ which has screwed up the messaging. It’s 100% about protecting the constitution.”
10. While making himself the face of the August amendment, Frank LaRose made a series of costly mistakes, including sending the wrong ballot language to all 88 county Boards of Elections days before the deadline to send absentee ballots overseas.
Cleveland.com: “Some elections officials estimated the mistake could cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.”