Ohio GOP Senate showdown: Dolan spotlights law enforcement support in new massive ad buy

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FIRST ON FOX: Matt Dolan is touting his efforts to fund Ohio’s sheriffs and police departments as he launches his second straight seven-figure ad blitz in a month in his bid for the Republican Senate nomination in the state’s crowded and competitive GOP primary.

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

The commercial then switches to Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and retired Macedonia police department sergeant Keith Olby saying that “thankfully, Ohio has Matt Dolan. In the legislature, Matt delivered for law enforcement. Funding, training, equipment, you name it. So we can keep our communities safe.”

The two law enforcement veterans then emphasize that “when Matt Dolan tells you he will protect Ohio….he will keep his word.”

Dolan, a state senator from Cleveland and a former county chief assistant prosecutor and state assistant attorney general before running for elected office, pledges in an accompanying statement that if elected to the Senate, he’ll “oppose any effort by Democrats to restrain 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 running in the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman. The primary field also includes 2018 Ohio Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, a 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 best-selling author J.D. Vance.

Dolan currently stands in single digits in a new Fox News Poll on which candidate Ohio Republican primary voters would prefer. Gibbons and Mandel lead the pack 


But the race is unsettled, according to the poll conducted March 2-4. Nearly one-quarter of voters (24%) are undecided – and about two-thirds of Gibbons’ (62%) and Mandel’s (64%) supporters say they may change their mind.

Dolan’s campaign tells Fox News that it will spend $2.5 million to run the commercial on broadcast and cable TV, as well as online and on radio across the Buckeye State. Dolan has now shelled out roughly $5 million to run ads since going up with his first spot in mid-January.

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.
(Matt Dolan campaign )

Dolan’s massive new ad buy is the latest sign that in a primary race where all nearly all the major contenders have plenty of personal wealth, or are backed by well financed outside groups, ad spending is soaring. According to figures from the national ad tracking firm AdImpact, $26 million had been spent through early Tuesday by the campaigns and super PACs to run ads in the Ohio Senate race, with nearly all the spending coming in the GOP primary.

According to AdImpact, the Ohio Senate race to date is the second most expensive in the country this cycle, behind the showdown in the neighboring battleground state of Pennsylvania for another GOP-held open seat.

The winner of the May 3 Republican primary may face off against longtime Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of northeastern Ohio. Ryan is considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination in race that also includes progressive Morgan Harper, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau senior adviser and 2020 congressional candidate.

Fox News’ Dana Blanton contributed to this report.

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