Ohio GOP Senate clash: Dolan highlights law enforcement support in massive new ad buy

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FIRST ON FOX: Matt Dolan touts his efforts to fund Ohio sheriffs and police departments as he launches his second consecutive seven-figure ad campaign in a month in his bid for the Republican Senate nomination in the crowded and competitive GOP primary of the state.

“Across the country, crime is on the rise, and liberals are demonizing and defunding our police,” the narrator accuses in the spot, which was first shared with Fox News on Wednesday.

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The ad then cuts to Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and retired Macedonian Police Department Sergeant Keith Olby saying that “luckily Ohio has Matt Dolan. law enforcement. Funding, training, equipment, you name it. So we can keep our communities safe.”

The two law enforcement veterans then point out that “when Matt Dolan tells you he’ll protect Ohio…he’ll keep his word.”

Dolan, a state senator from Cleveland and former chief assistant county attorney and assistant state attorney general before running for office, promises in an accompanying statement that if elected to the Senate, he ” will oppose any effort by Democrats to restrict the ability for law enforcement to keep our communities safe.”

Dolan — whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians — is one of eight GOP candidates vying to succeed retired Republican Sen. Rob Portman. The main field also includes Mike Gibbons, 2018 Republican Senate candidate from Ohio, Cleveland entrepreneur, real estate developer and investment banker; former Ohio Treasurer and former two-time Senate candidate Josh Mandel; former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken; and venture capitalist and bestselling author JD Vance.

Dolan currently sits in single digits in a new Fox News poll over which Republican primary voters in Ohio would prefer. Gibbons and Mandel leading the pack

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But the race is uncertain, according to the poll conducted March 2-4. Almost a quarter of voters (24%) are undecided – and around two-thirds of Gibbons (62%) and Mandel (64%) supporters say they could change their minds.

Tackling crime and bolstering funding for law enforcement are pressing issues for Republican voters in Ohio and across the country.

And as part of rolling out his new ad, Dolan also announced that he had landed the endorsement of Betty Montgomery, who in 1994 won election as Ohio’s first female attorney general. Dolan also presented the endorsement of Deb Burchett, who is the first woman to be elected sheriff in Clark County, located northeast of Dayton.

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Dolan’s campaign tells Fox News it will spend $2.5 million to run the ad on TV and cable, as well as online and on radio across the Buckeye state. Dolan has now shelled out around $5 million to run ads since its No. 1 spot in mid-January.

Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan, who is running for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in Ohio, campaigns in Independence, Ohio on December 1, 2021.

Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan, who is running for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in Ohio, campaigns in Independence, Ohio on December 1, 2021.
(Matt Dolan Campaign)

Dolan’s massive new ad buy is the latest sign that in a primary race where nearly all of the major competitors have a lot of personal wealth or are backed by well-funded outside groups, ad spending is skyrocketing. According to figures from national ad-tracking firm AdImpact, $26 million had been spent through Tuesday morning by campaigns and super PACs running ads in the Ohio Senate race, nearly all spending from the GOP primary.

According to AdImpact, Ohio’s Senate race so far is the second most expensive in the nation this cycle, behind the showdown in neighboring battleground state Pennsylvania for another open seat held by the GOP.

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The winner of the May 3 Republican primary could face longtime Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of northeast Ohio. Ryan is seen as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in the race that also includes progressive Morgan Harper, a former senior adviser to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 2020 congressional candidate.

Fox News’ Dana Blanton contributed to this report.

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