While #OHSEN Republicans Play Out Their Apprentice Fantasies, Ohio Voters are Left Behind
May 19, 2021
In Case You Missed It, Julie Carr Smyth and Dan Sewell of the AP reported today on the increasingly desperate and embarrassing battle in Ohio’s Republican Senate primary for the support of one Florida resident. Instead of fighting for the support of Ohio voters and running campaigns based on the needs and interests of Ohioans, Republican candidates are instead speaking to an audience of one: Donald Trump.
While these candidates trip all over themselves for Trump’s endorsement, increasingly making their campaigns about personal attacks on fellow Republicans and issues way outside the mainstream for Ohio voters, Trump refuses to endorse any of them despite several desperate public pleas from each candidate.
“While Ohioans are worried about taking care of their families, making ends meet and keeping themselves healthy amid a global pandemic, Republican Senate candidates are playing out their fantasies of appearing on the Apprentice. Democrats are laser focused on the issues that matter to Ohioans and creating a fairer, more prosperous state. Republicans are chasing the approval of a Florida resident who’s just not that into them,” said Matt Keyes, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, as Smyth and Sewell point out in their story, no one is seeking the endorsement of embattled Gov. Mike DeWine, who sees himself increasingly weakened by the intra-party fighting within his own party. Trump seems more concerned with securing a primary challenge to DeWine than any of the Republicans running for Senate.
Read the story from AP HERE and more below:
- One candidate has been circulating a who’s-done-more-for-Donald Trump scorecard. Footage of a waving Trump was dropped without context into a TV ad for another. A photo posted to Twitter gushes over the ex-president and his wife stopping by a third candidate’s fundraiser just to say hello.
- The U.S. Senate primary in Ohio is still a year away, but Republican contenders already are working furiously to cast themselves as Trump’s favorite in the open race. That work can be awkward and far from subtle.
- But despite all his pride in playing kingmaker, Trump has been reticent in his endorsements — in some cases even waiting until after the primary to give his approval. That leaves the field in Ohio positioning frantically in hopes of being deemed the Trumpiest of them all.
- But no endorsement has followed and the campaigning for Trump’s affection has continued. Earlier this month, an outside group, the USA Freedom Fund, linked Mandel to Trump in a TV commercial aired during Kentucky Derby coverage. It showed Trump speaking at a pre-2016 rally, even though Mandel was nowhere in sight. The spot also attacked Vance for past criticisms of Trump.
- However, Gary Abernathy, a former newspaper publisher in southern Ohio who had worked for the state GOP and for Portman, sees peril in that GOP strategy.
- “The danger is painting yourself into all-in on Trump right now and then you have to sell yourself in the general election,” Abernathy said. “How much of how you tie yourself to Trump now are you going to to wish you could untie a little bit? The general election is a different story.”
- Notably, the candidates don’t appear to be hustling for an endorsement from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who has bipartisan popularity. The governor has led the state’s response to the pandemic more aggressively than Trump did nationally as president, drawing backlash in his own party.