Ohio Senate race 2024: What to know about Republicans running in March 19 primary

State Sen. Matt Dolan, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and Bernie Moreno greet each other before a debate in Findlay on Feb. 19.
State Sen. Matt Dolan, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and Bernie Moreno greet each other before a debate in Findlay on Feb. 19.
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Ohio Republicans are fighting for the chance to take on U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown this fall.

Brown, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, is seeking a fourth term in office. The Ohio race is considered a tossup by political analysts and will be one of the most competitive and expensive in the country. Brown is one of two Democrats defending a seat in a state former President Donald Trump won in 2020.

The three Republicans running in the March 19 GOP primary are state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno.

Who is Matt Dolan?

Dolan placed third in the 2022 Republican U.S. Senate primary. He's serving his second term in the Ohio Senate, where he chairs the powerful Finance Committee and plays a central role in crafting the state budget. His family owns the Cleveland Guardians.

Dolan casts himself as a pragmatist who can solve problems. While he supports many Trump policies, he's more traditional than MAGA Republicans and hasn't cozied up to the former president.

You can learn more about Dolan here.

Who is Frank LaRose?

LaRose took the helm as secretary of state in 2019 after two terms in the Ohio Senate. He's maintained a careful balance between championing Ohio elections and appeasing skeptics who falsely claim there was rampant voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. LaRose also advocated for the failed effort to make it harder to amend the Ohio Constitution in August 2023.

LaRose boasts the highest name recognition in the primary and has centered his campaign around border security, parents' rights and the economy. He can't match his opponents' ability to self-fund, relying instead on a super PAC bankrolled by Illinois billionaire Richard Uihlein.

Read our profile of LaRose here.

Who is Bernie Moreno?

A luxury car dealer turned blockchain executive, Moreno made a name for himself in the Cleveland area through various business ventures. He also ran in the 2022 Senate race but dropped out after a private meeting with Trump. After that campaign ended, Moreno took over as Ohio chair for a national effort to impose congressional term limits.

In this race, Moreno is presenting himself as an outsider who will stand up to long-time elected officials in Washington. He's been endorsed by Trump, Sen. J.D. Vance, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and other high-profile Republican officials. At the same time, his campaign has been dogged by litigation he faced over employees' overtime pay and workplace discrimination.

Read more about Moreno here.

More on Ohio's 2024 U.S. Senate race

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 The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Senate race 2024: Who's running in March 19 Ohio primary?