In 2024, in the Senate, congressional and General Assembly races, the GOP’s current strength in Ohio should give Republican candidates a general-election edge.
That said, Brown — formerly an Ohio House and U.S. House member, and Ohio’s secretary of state — has cultivated broad-demographic appeal as a fighter for ordinary Ohioans.
For Brown, the challenge is that that message may not resound as loudly and widely as it did in Ohio. Last year’s Democratic Senate nominee, suburban Warren’s Tim Ryan, for example, who lost to Vance, also had vowed to fight for rank-and-file Ohioans. But Ryan failed to carry either of the core counties in his former U.S. House district, Mahoning (Youngstown) or Trumbull (Warren), both of which have turned away from New Deal liberalism and toward the politicking of Donald Trump, as have other swathes of Ohio.
That shift in sentiment is one reason next year’s Senate race offers Ohio Republicans an opportunity — and not just in Northeast Ohio — to capture a Senate seat from Brown.
Moreover, Dolan’s reappointment as chair of the state Senate’s budget-writing Finance Committee positions him to be the focus of many local-government and interest-group pleas for a Statehouse benefactor as to program appropriations and state construction projects.
Sherrod Brown is no slouch at campaigning, and he is a formidable contender with the power of incumbency (in a, for now, Democratic-run Senate).
On the other hand, the Ohio Democratic Party (which in the early 1980s, had General Assembly majorities and held every statewide elected office except one Supreme Court seat) has nothing like that profile now. And if Brown is running on a ticket led by President Biden, that — at this writing — has some downside risk. As for Dolan, other Republicans are likely to seek the party’s Senate nomination, too. One example: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a suburban Columbus Republican, and Ohio’s chief elections officer.
But in the 2022 statewide Republican Senate primary, Dolan carried Cuyahoga, Franklin and Geauga counties, and garnered roughly a quarter-million votes statewide — nearly matching second-place finisher Mandel, who’s not running this time.
Bottom line: Pending the fortunes and misfortunes of Joe Biden’ administration, a competitive 2024 Senate race beckons in Ohio, which could offer a definitive answer as to whether or not Ohio is still a competitive state politically — or safe GOP territory.
Thomas Suddes is a former legislative reporter with The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and writes from Ohio University. You can reach him at email@example.com.