Donald Trump to campaign for Bernie Moreno in Ohio Senate race

Former President Donald Trump will return to Ohio on Saturday to boost his preferred U.S. Senate candidate just days before the primary.

Trump will appear at the Dayton International Airport as part of a rally organized by Buckeye Values PAC, a group backing businessman Bernie Moreno. The former president is scheduled to speak at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and doors open at noon.

Moreno is running against Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, for the chance to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown this fall. Republicans see an opportunity to flip Brown’s seat in their quest to regain control of the Senate.

Trump endorsed Moreno back in December, a move that many observers thought would make Moreno the clear frontrunner. Instead, polls suggest the race remains close with a week to go before the March 19 primary. The campaigns and outside groups are spending money accordingly, which means Ohioans can expect an onslaught of ads over the next week.

Dolan, meanwhile, has trotted out endorsements from Gov. Mike DeWine and former Sen. Rob Portman.

Trump’s visit could provide some late momentum for Moreno, who’s never held elected office and lacks the name recognition of his opponents. Before now, Moreno had campaigned with surrogates of the former president, including Donald Trump Jr. and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

“I think (Trump) would love to come and support Bernie because he thinks everything about him, and what he stands for is what America’s about,” Noem said during an event in Columbus earlier Monday.

Trump himself is on Ohio’s March 19 ballot, but the Buckeye State won’t have much of a role to play in the presidential primary. He and President Joe Biden are heading for a rematch after both men dominated Super Tuesday elections, which forced U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to drop out of the Republican contest.

Still, Moreno said he’s confident that Trump’s supporters will come to the ballot box in Ohio.

“The people who support President Trump know that we have to send a signal, more than anything else, how much support he actually has,” Moreno said Monday.

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.

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