Dolan emerges late in Ohio GOP Senate primary, says voters are ‘leaving other candidates’ to support his campaign

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Ohio Republican Senate candidate Matt Dolan says he thinks his campaign is attracting supporters of other candidates in the final stretch before primary day, as reports indicate he is in the process of create significant momentum

“I was the last person in this race, so the undecided had to choose any other candidate many times. So as they get to know me, that’s where I get into the polls,” Dolan told Fox News in an interview Sunday at an Ottawa County Republican Women’s Club event.

“We have a lot of undecided coming for us, I think some people are leaving other candidates,” added Dolan, an Ohio state senator. “They want someone singularly focused on going to Washington to fight the Biden administration, fight for the people of Ohio, and make America strong.”

Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan, who is running in the state Senate GOP primary, speaks with Fox News Digital at an Ottawa Republican Women’s Club event in Port Clinton, Ohio. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)

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Dolan mingled with voters over lunch at the event, which served barbecue chicken, coleslaw, potatoes and baked goods.

Dolan is the only major candidate in the controversial and costly GOP primary who did not fight hard for former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

He says he will support Trump-style conservative policies in power, but doesn’t want to stage a nationalized race like the other candidates are doing.

“My message is about Ohio, about the safety of Ohioans, about Ohio’s economic conditions, about the Biden administration,” he said. “It resonates. We knew it would resonate, and we feel good in the last 48 hours because people are paying attention to the race, they’ll know that Dolan is the only person looking after Ohio from the start. ”

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Dolan advisers have been predicting a late push for weeks. There was an indication of that in the latest Fox News poll of the race, which showed Dolan as the only candidate besides venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance to garner support since early March.

The poll was taken immediately after Trump endorsed Vance.

Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan, who is running in the state Senate GOP primary, talks to a voter at an Ottawa Republican Women's Club event in Port Clinton, Ohio .  (Tyler Olson/Fox News)
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Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan, who is running in the state Senate GOP primary, talks to a voter at an Ottawa Republican Women’s Club event in Port Clinton, Ohio . (Tyler Olson/Fox News)

More recent reports show Dolan is not just building momentum, but is within real striking distance of winning the race ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.

Meanwhile, other candidates are still trading blows over Trump’s endorsement. Investment banker Mike Gibbons, former Ohio GOP chairwoman Jane Timken and former state treasurer Josh Mandel continue to attack Vance for comments he made in 2016 that were highly critical towards Trump and his constituents.

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Those candidates received more ammunition on Sunday when Trump came across Vance’s name at a rally in Nebraska. “JP, right? JD Mandel,” Trump said, referring to Vance as the Ohio nominee he endorsed.

The Gibbons campaign immediately seized on the moment, claiming “Vance’s MAGA credentials are bogus.”

“Obviously JD Vance not only made derogatory comments about President Trump, but more importantly, he made derogatory comments about the Trump voter,” Timken said of Vance on Friday.

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Matt Dolan speaks with a constituent at the Delaware County Republican Party's Lincoln Reagan Dinner in Columbus, Ohio on April 29, 2022. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Matt Dolan speaks with a constituent at the Delaware County Republican Party’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner in Columbus, Ohio on April 29, 2022. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)

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“I don’t think he made a good decision going into this run, especially so late in the game,” Gibbons said on Sunday. “He took a guy who was in single digits and made him competitive…and I think a lot of Republicans in the state, conservatives in this state are concerned about that. They don’t want a guy to tell them who to vote for. from the west coast.”

Donald Trump Jr., however, on Sunday introduced Vance as the “one Senate candidate from Ohio that my dad and I trust to fight the RINO establishment and put America first.”

Dolan says his message not only resonates with GOP primary voters, but his approach will put Republicans in the best position to win in November.

“The problem is with me, my message isn’t going to have to change. My message has always been about Ohio,” Dolan said in an interview with Fox News on Friday.

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Voters will head to the polls in Tuesday’s high-profile, expensive and controversial Senate primary, with Vance, Gibbons, Dolan and Mandel all looking within reach in many polls. And with a massive number undecided, Timken also argues she can pull off a late win with her sprawling ground game.

The winner of the GOP primary will likely face Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, in November’s general election.

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