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Trump supports Moreno at Dayton rally ahead of Ohio primary

trump standing in a crowd in front of his jet
Shay Frank
Former President Donald Trump spoke in Dayton at a rally supporting Moreno for U.S. Senate.

Republicans across Ohio and in surrounding states are charged up on the heels of a visit from former President Donald Trump.

Saturday evening in Vandalia during a rally near the Dayton International Airport, the 2024 presidential candidate endorsed Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno. The BuckeyeValues PAC hosted the event.

Moreno is in a tight race, facing state Sen. Matt Dolan and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose in the Republican primary race for the U.S. Senate.

After the primary election Tuesday, the winner will challenge the incumbent Democrat, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in November.

Following Saturday's rally, Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Katie Smith said Moreno "proved once again that he’s out for himself, not Ohioans."

During the rally, Moreno urged thousands of supporters to help him take an “America First’" agenda to Washington D.C.  

I need you on Tuesday to make it clear that in Ohio we put America first. We don't put the interests of foreign countries first. We take care of our own. We don't take care of people who break our laws,” Moreno said.

He also emphasized he would support policies making the U.S. energy independent, the deportation of undocumented immigrants, and measures requiring all immigrants to speak English.

“We don't need to vote in five different languages. We vote in English. It means you assimilate,” Moreno said. “You become part of America. America doesn't become part of you.”

Several people in seats and holding a large red and white Trump banner flag.
Kathryn Mobley
Crowds gather to await former president Donald Trump in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

Later during the rally, Trump made a grand entrance on his private jet. He touted Moreno’s strengths.

“Bernie's strong on borders. He'll fight to crush the cartels that are flooding our towns and cities with fentanyl and deadly drugs,” proclaimed the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president.

51-year-old Dave Dolly of Warren County cheered for both. He said Moreno is the best option for the Senate and is eager to see Trump leading the country.

We know we’ve got problems with the border; we’ve got problems with illegal immigration. There's too much corruption going on with the Biden administration, so we want to see him focus on that and really pound on that,” Dolly said. “Hopefully he can get back in there.”

Trump also assured the audience with that Moreno in Washington, he’ll create foreign policies that will strengthen the U.S.

“If China or any other country makes us pay 100 or 200% tariff, which they do. We will make them pay a reciprocal tariff of 100 or 200%,” Trump said. “In other words, you screw us and we'll screw you. It's very simple, very fair.”

Two people wearing red, white and blue clothes with stars and stripes have a green blanket around themselves.
Kathryn Mobley
Two people decked out in Trump clothes wait for the arrival of the former president.

Moreno also delivered a warning to D.C. Republicans he said lose their conservative convictions once they land in the beltway.

“We're going to put parents and local communities in charge of their schools. And any of those squishy Republicans that think you're going to infringe on our Second Amendment rights? Never on my watch,” Moreno said. “We’re taking over the county and putting America first.”

Moreno was also endorsed by other Republicans, including businesswoman Elena Cardone, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Ohio U.S. Senator J.D. Vance, and U.S. Representative Jim Jordan.

The rally drew a stream of attendees, many decked out in Trump paraphernalia.

While waiting for the rally to start, Carol Coleman of Sardis, Ohio, said she encourages everyone to vote in the upcoming election.

“Get out and vote," she said. "Get out and vote, do not take this for granted.”

Trump also held a rally in Dayton in 2022.

Tight GOP primary race for U.S. Senate

The rally in Dayton is part of a broader last minute push to win the GOP nomination, amid a tight Republican race for the U.S. Senate nomination.

The Statehouse News Bureaureports candidates and their supporters are spending millions on ads. And the race has been moving. The latest Emerson College/The Hill poll shows a third lead change in four months.

A poll from Emerson College/The Hill released Wednesday shows with less than a week till election day, the race is tight: Dolan is at 26%, Moreno is at 23% and LaRose is at 16%, but “undecided” leads at 32%. The margin of error is 2.6%. The Emerson College Polling website says since its poll in January, Dolan has gained ten points, Moreno has moved up one point, and LaRose has lost five points.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Email: kmobley@wyso.org
Cell phone: (937) 952-9924
Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.
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