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DAYTON, Ohio- A candidate for the Ohio Senate race who has sought to separate himself from a group of opponents seeking Donald Trump’s endorsement, tells Fox News he is ‘not anti-Trump’ and that he was the only problem-focused candidate.
“I’m not anti-Trump,” said US Senate candidate Matt Dolan. “If you look at the campaign, I’m the only one focused on Ohio issues.”
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Matt Dolan, a 57-year-old state senator and co-owner of the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball team, finds himself in the middle of a deadly primary that includes investor JD Vance, perennial candidate and former treasurer of Ohio Josh Mandel, businessman Mike Gibbons, and former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken.
In a recent debate, Ohio GOP Senate candidates were asked to raise their hands if they thought Donald Trump should stop talking about the 2020 election and move on to improving the Republican Party.
Dolan was the only candidate to raise his hand. He is also the only candidate Trump has said he will not support.
“Anyone who changes the name of the once-legendary Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians should not run for the United States Senate to represent the Great People of Ohio,” Trump wrote. “The Republican Party has too many RINOs!” added the former president.
Ohio voters who attended a forum hosted by Dolan in Dayton, Ohio, were largely unsure how they felt about Dolan’s position on Trump.
“I would say I probably lean more towards people sort of moving away from Trump,” a voter named Joe told Fox News.
But another Ohio voter named Brian seemed to place more weight on Trump’s opinion when asked about Dolan’s stance on the former president.
“Being a Trump supporter, definitely supporting Trump. I think President Trump has done a really good job of putting America first,” Brian told Fox News.
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A Fox News poll taken early last month showed Gibbons and Mandel leading the pack among Republican primary voters in Ohio in the race to replace retired U.S. Senator Rob Portman. The two candidates, Gibbons and Mandel, shared a heated exchange eventually cut short by a moderator, during a FreedomWorks forum in mid-March.
The poll had the next tier including author Vance, Timken and Dolan, and showed a shaky race with a quarter of voters undecided and around two-thirds of supporters of Gibbons, Mandel and Vance saying they might change their minds. .
Voters will head to the polls on May 3 to determine who will qualify for the general election.