*** Election Night Livewire *** Trump-Backed Bernie Moreno Seeks to Crush Establishment GOP in Ohio

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Jeff Dean/AP

Former President Donald Trump already has the GOP nomination for president this year locked up, but he faces a key test of his intra-GOP strength as his pick for U.S. Senate in Ohio, businessman and political outsider Bernie Moreno, faces off against two far more establishment GOP candidates in state Sen. Matt Dolan and Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

Moreno has been running a campaign focused on deporting illegal aliens who entered the country during Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration and opposing sending more U.S. tax dollars overseas to be wasted by the Ukrainians in their war against Russia. Dolan, meanwhile, is a globalist establishment Republican who supports more Ukraine aid, and LaRose has been grilled for taking funding from leftist sources, including accepting cash from Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg to run elections in Ohio and accepting money from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

Moreno has been fighting off vicious media attacks from the Associated Press in the final days of the campaign, and Trump stumped for him on Saturday with a massive rally in Dayton, Ohio. Whoever wins this race could determine a lot about the future of the GOP, and where things go from here.

Other states are having some primaries of note as well, with Illinois seeing two different sitting congressmen–a Republican and a Democrat–facing aggressive primary challenges. Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) seeks to fend off conservative challenger Darren Bailey while Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)–an 82-year-old longtime Democrat lawmaker–faces two serious challengers.

Out in California, too, voters will vote in a special election to choose who will succeed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in his old Bakersfield-area House seat. Other states, including Florida, have presidential primaries on Tuesday but since the GOP and Democrat primaries have been decided — as Trump and Biden both have locked down the majority of delegates ahead of their respective conventions this summer — these are essentially perfunctory exercises. However, there may be interesting data points to glean from turnout numbers or vote totals and demographics that provide clues for what might happen in November’s general election.

Polls in Ohio close at 7:30 p.m. ET, and later in other states. Follow along here on Breitbart News for live results, breaking news, and analysis throughout the evening.

UPDATE 10:18 p.m. ET:

Moreno has now reached 50 percent statewide with 83 percent reporting. His lead is more than 17 points.
UPDATE 10:15 p.m. ET:

Donald Trump Jr., another key player in Moreno’s victory who barnstormed Ohio multiple times with him, weighs in congratulating him as well and putting the heat on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for November:

UPDATE 10:13 p.m. ET:

Moreno is now on track to win every county in Ohio as he just overtook Dolan in his home county of Cuyahoga in the Cleveland area. He’s also now at 49.8 percent statewide on the cusp of majority support.

UPDATE 10:12 p.m. ET:

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), who was a huge part of Moreno’s victory, weighs in by noting he was outspent and outgunned but proved his mettle by working hard to get Trump’s endorsement and then winning over Ohio GOP voters to get the nomination:

UPDATE 9:58 p.m. ET:

Moreno now has overtaken Dolan in all but two counties with clear pathways to do so in both of those counties as well.

UPDATE 9:54 p.m. ET:

Moreno’s lead keeps expanding even more. He’s at 49.6 percent to Dolan’s 32.9 percent. That means he’s leading by nearly 17 percent now. He’s also close to majority territory too. With just 71 percent reporting at this point, Moreno could easily eclipse the majority threshold and keep expanding his already-secure victory.

What’s more, Moreno leads in every Ohio county except four of them, with pathways to win every county in the state. This is an absolutely dominating performance by the Trump-backed candidate and an extremely strong evening for Moreno and for Trump heading into the general election.

UPDATE 9:15 p.m. ET:

The Senate Leadership Fund, a group controlled by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, issued a statement congratulating Moreno on his victory. “Senate Leadership Fund congratulates Bernie Moreno on his hard-fought victory in the Ohio Senate Republican primary,” SLF president Steven Law said. “Republicans are united behind Bernie and committed to defeating left-wing career politician Sherrod Brown this November. We know Bernie will run an aggressive campaign to win.”

UPDATE 8:56 p.m. ET:

With just 33 percent reporting, Moreno’s lead is massively expanding. Yes, the race has already been called and he won big, but this could be historic level blowout material. Moreno is at 45.2 percent to Dolan’s 34.8 percent. That’s already a more than double digit lead, and plenty of room for Moreno to expand it. Talk about an embarrassment for the failed GOP old guard establishment.

UPDATE 8:49 p.m. ET:

The irony of the AP having to call this race is not lost on many Moreno and Trump supporters:

UPDATE 8:47 p.m. ET:

The GOP is quickly unifying behind Moreno after his landslide victory:

UPDATE 8:39 p.m. ET:

Well, it’s official now, the Associated Press has called it:

Moreno won. The establishment got smoked. Trump wins again. And of course given the attack piece the organization published against Moreno last week, the Associated Press is hardest hit. The failed fake news media fails again.

UPDATE 8:36 p.m. ET:

Others are noticing the same thing that Decision Desk HQ has:

UPDATE 8:34 p.m. ET:

Decision Desk HQ projects that Bernie Moreno has won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Ohio:

More calls from other outlets will likely be forthcoming soon.

UPDATE 8:31 p.m. ET:

Now, Moreno is really beginning to pull away. With 22 percent reporting, Moreno is at 40.4 percent while Dolan is down at 37.3 percent. Things are looking terrible for the establishment old guard of the GOP.

UPDATE 8:25 p.m. ET:

With 21 percent reporting, Moreno has now expanded his lead to more than a percent. Moreno is at 39.2 percent and Dolan is down at 38.1 percent. Things could be heading for a pretty early call for Ohio standards.

UPDATE 8:22 p.m. ET:

Betting markets have swung massively in Moreno’s direction, with him heavily, heavily favored to win.

UPDATE 8:16 p.m. ET:

Still just 19 percent reporting but Moreno is back in front by a fraction of a percent.

UPDATE 8:15 p.m. ET:

With 19 percent in now, less than 100 votes separate Dolan from Moreno as Moreno has essentially again erased Dolan’s lead. This is mostly early votes from around the state so if Moreno wins election day numbers as expected this is going to be huge for him.

UPDATE 8:11 p.m. ET:

With 17 percent reporting now, Dolan has crept back in front with 38.97 percent to Moreno’s 38.35 percent. Again, the road is running out for Dolan with the election day turnout beginning to come in and crush him. If the current trend lines hold, this will be a big night for Moreno and Trump.

UPDATE 8:01 p.m. ET:

Now, with 13 percent reporting, Moreno is back in front and expanding his lead. Moreno is at 38.52 percent and Dolan is down at 37.95 percent.

UPDATE 7:59 p.m. ET:

Dolan is back in front with 11 percent reporting, but Moreno is far outperforming what most expected and Dolan is far underperforming what most expected when it comes to the early returns. It’s still too early to call, but things are looking great for Moreno right now.

UPDATE 7:54 p.m. ET:

With 10 percent reporting now, Moreno has taken the lead over Dolan. This looks terrible for the establishment. Moreno is at 38.18 percent and Dolan is at 38.04 percent. What remains to be counted is likely to be very Moreno-heavy.

 UPDATE 7:51 p.m. ET:

The GOP establishment really went all out to try to stop Moreno. Assuming he ends up pulling this off, it’ll be a total failure of the big special interest moneyed donor class and a win for the little guys. An Ohio source sent this spending analysis to Breitbart News that shows this:

Primary Spending Recap:
We saw a total of $43.7M spent by a total of 12 different advertisers.
Pro-Moreno advertisers spent a total of $13.4M.
Pro-Dolan advertisers (including Buckeye Leadership Fund) spent $17.3M.
Pro-LaRose advertisers spent $5.2M.
Lastly, the pro-Brown IE, spent $2M boosting Moreno with an attack ad in the final week.
Broadcast TV saw the bulk of the spending with a total of $33.8M, about 77% of the total spend. Cable TV saw $7.5M, about 17%. Rounding out the top 3 was Addressable Statewide Satellite TV with $352K, about 1%.
The top market for spending was Cleveland at $13.9M, $11.1M was spent in Columbus, $8.2M was spent in Cincinnati, $5.4M was spent in Dayton, $2.5M was spent in Toledo, followed by $1.2M spent in Youngstown rounding out the top 5 markets.

UPDATE 7:45 p.m. ET:

With 2 percent reporting now, Moreno has already cut Dolan’s lead down to just 41 percent to 37 percent. This could be a blowout.

UPDATE 7:38 p.m. ET:

Things just look fantastic for Moreno right now:

With just 1 percent reporting according to the New York Times, as expected, Dolan has an early lead but it looks like this will crumble soon.

UPDATE 7:35 p.m. ET:

Moreno leads Dolan by 10 in the exit polls:

We’re still awaiting results, but this looks fantastic for Moreno.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. ET:

The polls have now closed in Ohio. Results are expected imminently.

UPDATE 7:15 p.m. ET:

While it’s essentially irrelevant because Trump already is the presumptive GOP nominee for president, the results streaming in now from Florida look very strong for him. He’s higher than 70 percent and looks like he could be on par for around 90 percent. While Nikki Haley dropped out two weeks ago, and she was the last GOP candidate standing against Trump for more than a month before that, she and several others who dropped out earlier do still appear on the ballot in the Sunshine State so Trump’s dominant performance is impressive.

UPDATE 7:12 p.m. ET:

The Cincinnati area may decide the election in Ohio and could be an early indicator of it’ll be close or a Moreno blowout:

UPDATE 7:10 p.m. ET:

An emerging narrative in Ohio is that there are definitely some Democrats who crossed over to vote in the GOP primary:

Who they voted for, why, and more remains to be seen.

Broader exit polls are expected at 7:30 p.m. ET when the polls close.

UPDATE 7:07 p.m. ET:

The early vote numbers in Ohio–both in person and mail–amount to around 230,000 votes. Dolan will do well with these numbers, but Moreno is expected to clean up on election day totals. So, it may begin the night with a pro-establishment mirage of sorts where Dolan looks strong to start but then fades throughout the night. Margins are key in races like this and the question is whether Moreno can run up the score in key areas.

UPDATE 7:04 p.m. ET:

Polls have closed in most of Florida and will close in Ohio in under half an hour.

While we await results in Ohio, exit polls seem to suggest a very pro-Trump electorate:

That would likely bode well for Moreno over Dolan. We’ll see when the returns start coming in.

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