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Trump Endorsements in Ohio Reflect Sea Change.

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Trump Endorsements in Ohio Reflect Sea Change.

As former President Donald Trump was under legal fire and rumors swelled of another indictment, Sen. J.D. Vance and a virtual who’s who of Ohio Republicans endorsed him for the presidential nomination in 2024.

The list of endorsements, released by the Trump campaign Tuesday morning, includes two of the three Republicans vying for the U.S. Senate nomination next year, five of Ohio’s 10 GOP U.S. Representatives, and State Treasurer Robert Sprague.

While two of the Senate hopefuls — Secretary of State Frank LaRose and businessman Bernie Moreno — weighed in with strong endorsements of Trump, the third major GOP contender was not on the list and is unlikely to be on any future list of Trump supporters.

State Sen. Matt Dolan, who disparaged Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, ran for the Senate nod in 2022 with the backing of much of the more moderate GOP “establishment.” He ended up third behind Vance and former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, both of whom ran as Trump Republicans. (First-time candidate Vance actually got Trump’s endorsement in the primary).

Along with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, the Trump supporters in Ohio’s GOP U.S. House delegation are Reps. Mike Carey, Max Miller (a former Trump White House staffer), Bill Johnson, and Troy Balderson.

“No elected officials — not even in the state House or Senate — are backing [Ron] DeSantis or anyone else,” said a Columbus-area GOP activist who requested anonymity. “There is a fear of getting a Trump-backed primary challenge.”

A poll from Ohio Northern University shows that among likely GOP primary voters, Trump holds a hefty lead with 64% of the vote, followed by entrepreneur and Ohio native Vivek Ramaswamy with 12%, and Florida Gov. DeSantis 9%.

Trump’s strength among Ohio Republicans reflects a sea change in the party. In 2016, then-Gov. John Kasich defeated Trump in the primary by 46% to 35%, with the rest going to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Kasich subsequently refused to endorse Trump and, in 2020, was a high-profile Republican for Biden.

The Ohio presidential primary will be held March 19.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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