CLEVELAND (AP) — Matt Dolan, who was defeated in a raucous Republican Senate primary in Ohio last year, plans to run again in 2024, this time to unseat long-serving Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown.
Dolan told an Ohio GOP official in a voicemail Sunday that he will announce his candidature this week, which the official shared with NBC News on the condition of anonymity.
Dolan’s representative declined to comment on Monday.
Brown has stated that he intends to run for a fourth term next year. Dolan, a state senator whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians, would almost certainly be the first Republican candidate to declare. Other Republicans watching the race closely include Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Bernie Moreno, a businessman who ran for Senate briefly in 2022.
Dolan has also been the most aggressive in preparing for 2024.
Dolan struggled to connect with the right-wing base during last year’s race as a critic of former President Donald Trump and those who embraced his debunked election conspiracy theories, despite expressing support for Trump’s policies and saying he wouldn’t rule out supporting him in 2024. Despite a heavily self-funded campaign, he finished third in the primary, trailing eventual winner J.D. Vance and former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, after a surge in the polls in the final days. And, after Trump was blamed for the GOP’s poor performance outside of Ohio in the midterm elections, Dolan quickly established himself as a post-Trump candidate to challenge Brown next year.
“What we saw nationally should convince us that the country is ready for substantive candidates, not personalities and election deniers,” Dolan said in an email to county GOP chairs in Ohio less than a week after the election, indicating he was considering another run.
Dolan acknowledged in his voicemail Sunday that others are likely to run in 2024 and expressed interest in gaining the official’s support in what could be another crowded primary. Dolan told the official that the race should be about beating Brown, and that he was the best candidate to do so.
Brown’s seat, along with those held by Democrats Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as an open seat in Michigan where Democrat Debbie Stabenow is retiring, will be among the GOP’s top picks next year. Republican leaders in Ohio are bracing for another bruising primary campaign like the one that propelled Vance, a political newcomer best known for his best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.” Vance easily defeated Democrat Tim Ryan with the help of national GOP groups that spent tens of millions of dollars on TV ads.
Other Republicans mentioned as potential candidates include US Rep. Warren Davidson and Mark Kvamme, a venture capitalist with ties to former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.