Politics

Moreno gets endorsement from Senate GOP No. 3 in contested Ohio primary

Ohio Senate hopeful Bernie Moreno has garnered another endorsement — this time from a member of Senate GOP leadership.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the third-highest ranking Senate Republican, backed Moreno on Tuesday and praised him as a candidate that will “help make America stronger and safer.” He plans to campaign with Moreno in Ohio before the primary.

This is Moreno’s third significant endorsement in recent weeks. Former President Donald Trump backed the former car dealer in December. Then the influential Club for Growth threw its support behind him in January.

Moreno is locked in a contentious three-way battle with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan. The winner of the March 19 primary will take on Sen. Sherrod Brown, one of the chamber’s most endangered Democratic incumbents.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is remaining neutral in the primary. Chair Steve Daines (R-Mont.) has said he believes any of the three candidates could prevail against Brown.

The endorsement could also prove useful to Barrasso, who is seen as a potential successor to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He endorsed Trump last week — something McConnell has pointedly refused to do — and he has also backed Kari Lake in Arizona. His early support of the president and leading GOP candidates could position Barrasso well for coming leadership battles.

Barrasso is also close with Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio), who has long championed Moreno. Barrasso met Moreno in person in mid-October and has kept in touch with him since then.

“Bernie Moreno is built for Ohio,” Barrasso said in a statement shared first with POLITICO. “His story is Ohio’s story. Hard work, grit, and drive to build a family and a successful small business.”