Senate rival Frank LaRose joins other GOP Ohio officeholders in endorsing Bernie Moreno

Ohio Secretary of State and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Frank LaRose answers reporters questions during a campaign event in Hamilton, Ohio, Monday, March 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

By JULIE CARR SMYTH Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose joined other GOP statewide officeholders Thursday in endorsing his former rival, Republican Senate nominee Bernie Moreno — after a bruising and expensive primary in which he repeatedly attacked his rival as untrustworthy.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, LaRose said he joined the Senate race because he was concerned about the direction of the country and that he believes Moreno “has what it takes to bring real change to Washington and work with President Trump to make America great again.”

“We urgently need to change course,” tweeted LaRose, who lost the former president’s endorsement to Moreno. “That starts by retiring Sherrod Brown and replacing the failed leadership in Washington.” LaRose said he stands ready to help.

Brown, the third-term Democratic incumbent, is viewed as among his party’s most vulnerable senators this year, as his liberal voting record is viewed as increasingly at odds with the former bellwether state’s tack to the political right in recent years.

The Ohio Democratic Party wasted no time after Tuesday’s vote launching an anti-Moreno website that included some of Republicans’ own intraparty attacks against the nominee, including LaRose’s.

Besides LaRose, Moreno also won support Wednesday from Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague, Ohio Auditor Keith Faber and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, a longtime political ally.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who had backed rival candidate Matt Dolan in the primary, endorsed Moreno on Wednesday. Attorney General Dave Yost had already endorsed Moreno before the primary.

All five officeholders are Republicans.