COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Cleveland-area car dealer and businessman Bernie Moreno has joined the race for the Republican nomination for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022.
Moreno, 54, positioned himself as a conservative who will promote the agenda of former President Donald Trump, support term limits and fight back against “cancel culture,” in an announcement Tuesday.
Moreno and his family left Colombia when he was 5 years old.
“I came from a country surrounded by the ideology of radicals like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, who promised to give everyone all they needed and solve all their problems — just like Bernie Sanders and [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] are doing today,” he said in a video posted to social media. “If we’re going to protect this country from the socialist left, and keep this precious idea built on the concept of freedom, then we need outsiders who back up their words with action.”
Moreno said he will accept no corporate PAC money in his campaign.
He is seeking the seat held by Rob Portman, a Republican who said he is retiring. Ohio’s other Senate seat is held by a Democrat, Sherrod Brown, and the race will be important for both parties considering the Senate’s current 50-50 split.
Other Republicans in the field are former state treasurer Josh Mandel and former state party chairman Jane Timken. Twitter removed a poll by Mandel last month that asked whether “Muslim Terrorists” or “Mexican Gangbangers” would commit more crimes after illegally entering the country.
And Timken this week reported that she has raised over $2.1 million for her campaign in 42 days.
Moreno was one of four Republican hopefuls for Portman’s seat — along with Mandel, Timken and investment banker Mike Gibbons — who reportedly met with Trump last month to discuss the race and which candidate would receive his nomination.
Politco reported that the meeting was a “15-minute backbiting session” but that Moreno largely stayed out of it, other than to suggest that the candidates work to earn the endorsement.
Among other Republicans yet to declare, Rep. Steve Stivers, used his personal account to tweet a gif of television host Steve Colbert munching on popcorn in response to the article.
No Democrats have yet to declare, although Rep. Tim Ryan and former state health director Amy Acton are believed to be considering runs.