COLUMBUS – When Ohio’s Rob Portman announced his retirement from the United States Senate more than a year ago activity for the Republican nomination for the seat started slowly and has grown into one of the most competitive races in the first of two state primaries.
With a lack of state legislative district maps, a primary for statewide races, local races and local issues takes place May 3. A second primary for state House and Senate races will likely be Aug. 2.
In the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, voters must decide between seven total candidates. Each express similar stands on core issues of taxes, education and immigration but each bring a variety of experience into the race.
Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Jane Timken and J.D. Vance have separated themselves as front-runners. Also in the race are Neil Patel and Mark Pukita. Here’s a look at the five front-runners:
Dolan, the son of Cleveland Guardians owner Larry Dolan, has spent the past five years in the Ohio Senate and was a member of the Ohio House from 2005-10, before resigning to run for Cuyahoga County chief executive.
He’s campaigned on a state legislative record of cutting business regulation and business taxes. He also played a role in the state’s most recent budget, which cut the state’s income taxes.
He’s pledging to stop illegal immigration using walls, surveillance, personnel and virtual capabilities. He supports expanding school choice and expanding domestic energy production.
Gibbons, a businessman and investor, has leaned on a position as a political outsider to try to set him apart from the field, saying he wants to be a “citizen legislator.” He served as finance co-chairman for former President Donald Trump’s Ohio campaign and received an endorsement from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.
A former teacher and wrestling coach, he blames President Biden for border security issues and promotes finishing the wall and enforcing immigration laws.
He promotes lower business taxes and regulation and creating a tax credit for every job created. He also supports school choice and curriculum transparency.
Mandel, Ohio’s treasurer from 2011-19, is a former Marine who introduced the Ohio checkbook, a website that promotes transparency in state spending. He also served two terms in the Ohio House. He received an endorsement from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
He wants to finish the border wall and increase border patrols, calling illegal immigration at the southern border an “invasion.”
He supports school choice and applying free-market principles to education and parental controls for curriculums.
Timken, chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party from 2017-21, says her experience leading the party can unite it. She received Portman’s endorsement.
She says she would reinstitute the Remain in Mexico policy, deport criminal illegal immigrants, and end catch and release connected to illegal immigration.
She proposes tax credits for businesses that invest and train students for jobs and said she would vote against tax increases, cut regulations and end all illegal COVID-19 regulations.
She supports school choice and parental rights in education.
Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, served as a Marine and worked in the venture capital industry. He is also campaigning as a political outsider. He received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.
He says he wants to restore America’s manufacturing base, raise taxes on companies that move jobs overseas. He wants to break up big tech companies to reduce their power.
Vance opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, wants to finish the border wall and double the number of U.S. border agents.
vidson | The Center Square
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.