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  January 7, 2021

Happy Friday, and welcome to “Buckeye Brawl,” a weekly newsletter from the Ohio Democratic Party highlighting the nasty, chaotic, and expensive Republican primary for Senate. This out-of-control primary is making conservatives “deeply worried” about the prospects of Republicans losing this seat.

As the Republican Senate primary continues to sink lower and lower, these GOP candidates are injecting even more nasty personal attacks, more chaos, and more money into this race. We’re here to help you keep track of all of it.

WVXU’s Howard Wilkinson said this GOP Senate primary may be “Ohio’s ugliest ever.” And Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser said that “the showdown is fast becoming the most expensive and ugly GOP Senate contest.” 

Here’s what you may have missed:

DESPERATE AND BEGGING FOR ENDORSEMENTS. Vance booster Ryan James Girdusky said, “Timken is becoming desperate, begging for endorsements and then putting out this nonsense poll.” Another Vance surrogate said, “Probably worth mentioning that the first independent poll of the race came out in mid December (post-anti Vance tv buys) and told a completely different story than Timken’s desperate internal….” It seems every month Jane Timken “has momentum!” and “is surging!” But is actually stuck in the teens and hasn’t cracked her own peak support from May 2021 when she was at 19 percent. Shoutout to the comms staffer who has to spin Timken’s stagnating support every seemingly monthly internal poll.

NEVER IN THE BATTLE. In a race all about Trump, Jane Timken continues to try and paint herself as the Trump candidate despite her endorsement this week from a Trump critic and saying a congressman’s decision to vote to impeach Trump was “rational.” Trying to remain relevant, Timken went on the attack during an interview on Steve Bannon’s War Room, saying, “Josh Mandel says he’s a Trump warrior but was never in the battle. He was nowhere to be found in 2020. And J.D. Vance has said terrible things about President Trump and he’s suffering the consequences from it.” This is a similar line of attack Timken used last year, saying on the Ruthless podcast, “I’m not a Johnny come lately, I didn’t just show up.” It may be a new year, but the race is still about phony millionaires sucking up to Trump.

RESIDENT SHAPESHIFTER. Following Washington Post reporting exposing Bernie Moreno changing his position on the attempted insurrection in order to remain relevant in this primary, Matt Dolan consultant Chris Pack tweeted that Moreno was a “resident shapeshifter.” This follows Pack last month going after Moreno for also changing his position on whether the 2020 presidential election was legitimate, tweeting that “2020 @berniemoreno is blowing up 2021 Bernie Moreno’s #OHSEN campaign in spectacular fashion. The reality is that few Ohio Republicans know Bernie, but those who do are rejecting his desperate schtick.” To be fair, all of the leading candidates have had to shapeshift to be relevant in this primary, so it’s a who’s who of desperate schticks.

Thanks for reading along – that’s all for the Buckeye Brawl this week. If you have questions, my email is mbeyer@ohiodems.org. Have a great weekend!