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Ohio Republican Senate showdown: ‘Cold war’ with China spotlighted in latest major ad blitz

  • January 18, 2022


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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Dolan is taking aim at China and President Biden as he launches his first ad blitz in his campaign for the Republican Senate nomination in Ohio – a massive seven-figure buy.

“We are in a Cold War, this time with China,” the state senator from suburban Cleveland says to camera in his campaign commercial, which was shared first with Fox News on Tuesday. “And it’s not just being fought on factory floors because China wants to dominate the world economically and militarily.”


“Washington has caused this, and Joe Biden’s weakness makes it even worse,” Dolan charges in his ad. “My priority in the U.S. Senate is to defeat communist China by bringing back our jobs and renewing our strength in the world. Our economic and national security depend on it.” 

Dolan’s campaign says the spot will run statewide on broadcast and cable TV plus digitally as well, and that it’s backed by an initial $1.7 million ad buy.

“The Biden Administration’s failures have spurred crisis after crises and project weakness on the world stage,” Dolan argued in a statement to Fox News. 

And he emphasized that “meeting the evolving national security challenges posed by China requires new leadership with a focus of driving investments in our economy, job creation, innovation and alliance building we have not seen since the height of our conflict with the Soviet Union.”

Talk of taking a muscular approach to U.S.-Chinese relations and curbing Beijing’s influence is a message most Republican voters want to hear, and many GOP candidates running in the 2022 cycle are spotlighting the issue. 

Dolan, a longtime state lawmaker whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians, who until last year were known for more than a century as the Cleveland Indians. He’s one of 11 GOP candidates running 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, who’s running for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in Ohio, campaigns in Independence, Ohio, on Dec. 1, 2021.

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 in a primary race where all nearly all the major contenders have plenty of personal wealth, Dolan becomes the latest to spend big bucks to run ads.


Gibbons announced last summer that he’d dish out $10 million to run ads through this May’s primary. Moreno spent $4 million at the beginning of December to launch a six-week ad buy, with Timken’s spending roughly $1.7 million. Mandel has spent a miniscule $28,000 on ads, while Vance has yet to spend any money to run spots. But outside groups supporting Mandel and Vance have launched ads.

Mike Gibbons, a Republican Senate candidate for Ohio, speaks to supporters as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., looks on during a campaign rally in Maineville, Ohio, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

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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