One of the biggest, most competitive, GOP Senate primaries gets even bigger

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Another Republican candidate is jumping into the 2022 race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, which is one of the most crowded and combustible GOP Senate primaries in the country.

Ohio state Sen. Matt Dolan on Monday announced his candidacy, charging that “Ohio is under attack by the socialist agenda being pushed by President Biden and Democrats like Tim Ryan and Chuck Schumer.”

But Dolan, a longtime state lawmaker whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians (which will be renamed the Cleveland Guardians starting next season), also indirectly took aim at the Republican candidates already running, saying “it’s clear that the focus of the race for the U.S. Senate has yet to be about our people, our interests, and our beloved state. This changes today with the announcement of my candidacy for U.S. Senate.”

And the narrator in Dolan’s campaign launch video said “what if Ohio’s next senator didn’t just talk big and loud, but had a real record of conservative success. What if our next senator didn’t pander about reducing government and cutting taxes but already did it, repeatedly.”

Dolan becomes the 11th candidate vying for next year’s GOP Senate nomination in Ohio. The field also includes former Ohio treasurer and former two-time Senate candidate Josh Mandel; former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken; venture capitalist and best-selling author J.D. Vance, Cleveland businessman and luxury auto dealership giant Bernie Moreno; and 2018 Ohio Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, a Cleveland entrepreneur, real estate developer and investment banker. And longtime Rep. Mike Turner, who represents the state’s 10th Congressional District, has taken steps towards launching a campaign.

The winner of next year’s Republican primary may face off against longtime Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of northeastern Ohio. Ryan, who declared his candidacy for the Senate in April, is considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination in a primary field expected to be much smaller than the large GOP roster of contenders. Progressive Morgan Harper, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau senior adviser and 2020 congressional candidate, announced her candidacy earlier this summer.

The U.S. Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties, but the Democrats hold a razor-thin majority due to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves as president of the Senate. That means the GOP only needs a one-seat pickup to regain the majority.

But Republicans are defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs in 2022. Besides Ohio, the GOP is also defending open seats in the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Pennsylvania as well as in Missouri and Alabama.

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