Ohio Republican Party endorses Donald Trump for president in 2024

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally for then-U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance at Dayton International Airport in 2022.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally for then-U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance at Dayton International Airport in 2022.
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The Ohio Republican Party on Friday endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2024, a rare move that underscores the former president's grip on state GOP officials.

Trump is considered the presumptive Republican nominee, even though he faces several civil and criminal cases over alleged business fraud, interference in the 2020 election and mishandling of classified government documents. His opponents, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, trail far behind him in the polls.

Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is also seeking the GOP nomination. He grew up in the Cincinnati area and currently lives near Columbus.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou said the party appreciates the work of other candidates but called Trump the right nominee for the moment.

"President Trump has proven time and again that despite the unhinged and relentless attacks from the radical left, he will never give up on fighting for Ohio's workers, businesses and families," Triantafilou said in a statement. "His unapologetic leadership and commitment to putting America First is exactly what we need to reverse course from the failed policies of Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown."

Trump's campaign was quick to trot out the endorsement, which appears to be the first in this election by a state Republican Party. The Ohio GOP backed former Gov. John Kasich in the 2016 primary over Trump.

In recent years, Republicans on the state central committee have clashed over whether to endorse in competitive GOP primaries.

Ohio Republican Party does not endorse in U.S. Senate race

The committee did not pick a candidate in the GOP primary for Ohio's U.S. Senate race during its Friday meeting. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, businessman Bernie Moreno and state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, are running for the chance to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown next year. Ohio is among a handful of states that Republicans hope to flip to reclaim control of the Senate.

The primary is March 19.

Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Ohio Republican Party endorses Donald Trump for president in 2024