Trump's endorsements hailed as 'most powerful…in modern political history' after victories in OH, IL, CA

EXCLUSIVE: WESTLAKE, OHIO – Moments after delivering his victory speech in the GOP Ohio Senate primary on Tuesday night, businessman Bernie Moreno touted the importance of former President Trump’s endorsement and his plans for both his general election campaign and potential agenda as a U.S. senator.

“Let’s just say this, an endorsement from President Donald J. Trump is the most powerful endorsement in modern political history,” Moreno told Fox News Digital during an interview following his victory speech. “There’s never been anything like it before, probably won’t be anything like it afterwards, so I was incredibly honored.”

“It was probably decisive because at the end of the day, he’s the ultimate good housekeeping seal of approval. People like President Trump in Ohio for a very good reason. When he was president, we had world stability, we had low interest rates with good wages going up. So things were objectively good when President Trump was in office, and they’re really bad under President Biden.”

When asked whether his victory was a “test” on Trump’s clout with the GOP, Moreno said his primary win was a “victory for the America First agenda.”

TRUMP-BACKED BERNIE MORENO WINS CONTENTIOUS OHIO GOP SENATE PRIMARY

Businessman Bernie Moreno, left, and Sen. Sherrod Brown. (Getty Images)

I think what I’ve heard all over Ohio is that what people expect from their leaders is to put America first,” Moreno said. “That should be the job description by the way. That shouldn’t even be an issue for one candidate versus another and they’re also sick of career politicians. They’re sick of people who do this for a living.”

Trump endorsed Moreno in December, which immediately boosted him in the polls and assisted in his campaign message against Republican State Sen. Matt Dolan, who was endorsed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and former Sen. Rob Portman, both considered to be top members of Ohio’s Republican old guard or establishment.

Moreno, who earned a commanding victory on Tuesday night and looked to be on track to win every county in the state, told Fox News he expects his matchup with Brown is going to get “nasty.”

“It’s going to be very nasty for one reason, Sherrod Brown can’t run on anything other than nastiness,” Moreno said. “He has no record. This guy is an abject failure. He has not done anything for Ohio. His policies have crushed working-class Americans, so he has no choice. He has to distract from a record of total failure and disaster. His adherence to Joe Biden, his bending the knee to Elizabeth Warren, he has to answer to that.”

VULNERABLE DEM SENATOR FLIP-FLOPS ON SUPPLYING ENERGY TO CHINA IN MIDDLE OF RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN

“So what he’ll do is change the subject and, of course, pick out God knows what about me. I look forward to a race about issues. If we make this race about issues, he loses probably 70-30. But of course he’s going to have a lot of money. He knows how to raise money from all kinds of special interest groups. He knows how to beat up people all over the nation for five bucks or 10 bucks that he sells them a bill of goods. So it’s going to be a very nasty race. I’m prepared for it.”

Shortly after Moreno’s victory, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee posted on X that Ohio Republicans chose a “far-right anti-abortion multi-millionaire” who is “only looking out for himself.”

“Did they say Hispanic immigrant Bernie Moreno with a compelling life story sacrifices everything tosave America?” Moreno joked when asked about that statement from the DSCC.

PENCE DECLINES TO ENDORSE TRUMP, WON’T BACK BIDEN

Republican presidential candidate former President Trump, right, greets Ohio Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Bernie Moreno during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024, in Vandalia, Ohio. The rally was hosted by the Buckeye Values PAC. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Bernie Moreno, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, left, smiles at supporters during his primary election night watch party in Westlake, Ohio, on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Former President Trump rallied for Moreno on Saturday in Vandalia, Ohio. (AP Photos/Jeff Dean/David Dermer)

“Did they point out I would be the first Hispanic elected statewide or the first South American born Senator? None of that?”

Brown quickly reacted to Moreno’s victory on social media.

“The choice ahead of Ohio is clear: Bernie Moreno has spent his career and campaign putting himself first, and would do the same if elected,” Brown posted on X after Moreno’s victory. “I’ll always work for Ohio.”

Moreno’s race will be one of the most closely watched in November, with many believing that Ohio is one of the strongest opportunities Republicans have to help take back control of the U.S. Senate.

If Moreno is able to defeat Brown, he shared with Fox News Digital what his “Day One” plans are in Washington, D.C.

“Day one in the U.S. Senate we’re going to pick a majority leader because we’re going to have the majority,” Moreno said. “That’s going to be somebody who presents a vision for the Republican Party, somebody who works hand-in-glove with President Trump to get the agenda completed.”

“And then, of course, we have to secure our border, we can’t have a country without a border, so we have to make it clear that we want immigrants that add to America, not to lower our wages, and we have to have zero tolerance for illegal immigration, and we’re going to put that in place.”

From left to right, Kari Lake, Bernie Moreno and JD Vance talk to reporters in Milford, Ohio. (Fox News Digital)

Moreno went on to say that “energy dominance” will be a top priority from the start.

“Not energy independence,” Moreno said. “Energy dominance. “That’s mining for coal, drilling for oil and extracting natural gas, and we have to build nuclear power plants in this country again, so that we have the low cost of energy that allows us to bring manufacturing back.

“Those are the things we’re going to do pretty much in the first 100 days, and then we’re going to get rid of the Department of Education. Its stranglehold on our kids, it’s what’s causing this indoctrination, and we also have to reform our three letter agencies.”

Moreno told Fox News he looks forward to working with Republican senators like JD Vance, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

We are going to have a great group of conservatives that actually get this agenda forward. We’re going to show America what life is like under a conservative government, which means more freedom and liberty, less government.”

Democrats control the U.S. Senate with a 51-49 majority, but Republicans are looking at a favorable Senate map in 2024, with Democrats defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs. Three of those seats are in red states that Trump carried in 2020 — Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, where Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election.

Andrew Mark Miller is a reporter at Fox News. Find him on Twitter @andymarkmiller and email tips to [email protected].

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Trump's endorsements hailed as 'most powerful…in modern political history' after victories in OH, IL, CA

EXCLUSIVECLEVELAND – There were two winners in Ohio’s Republican Senate primary – Bernie Moreno and former President Trump.

Moreno, a successful Cleveland-based business leader and luxury auto dealership giant, rode Trump’s endorsement to victory in Tuesday’s primary in a costly and contentious GOP nomination contest.

“I want to thank President Trump for all he did for me, for this campaign, for his unwavering support,” Moreno said in his victory speech.

Moreno, who highlighted that he spoke with the former president soon after his victory was projected, emphasized that “I wear with honor my endorsement from President Trump.”

TRUMP’S SUPPORT HELPS PROPEL MORENO TO VICTORY IN BRUISING SENATE PRIMARY BATTLE

Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno celebrates with supporters after winning Ohio’s GOP Senate primary in Cleveland on March 19, 2024. (Fox News/Paul Steinhauser)

Moreno’s victory in a bruising primary battle over state Sen. Matt Dolan and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose propelled him into a general election showdown against longtime Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in a race that may determine if Republicans win back the Senate majority in November.

The Senate primary in its closing days was framed as a showdown between Trump and the MAGA/America First wing of the party, which rallied around Moreno, vs. the conservative establishment, which supported Dolan. Additionally, it was partially viewed as a test of Trump’s immense clout over the Republican Party.

WATCH: WHAT BERNIE MORENO TOLD FOX NEWS AFTER HIS PRIMARY VICTORY IN OHIO

Trump, who last week clinched the GOP presidential nomination as he became his party’s presumptive 2024 nominee, easily cruised to victory in Ohio’s Republican presidential primary on Tuesday.

However, Moreno’s win in the competitive Senate contest was arguably a bigger victory for Trump than his presidential primary romp.

And it came on a night when Trump endorsed candidates won a handful of other contested GOP primaries in races across the country.

Republican presidential candidate former President Trump, right, greets Ohio Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Bernie Moreno during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024, in Vandalia, Ohio. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“An endorsement from Donald J. Trump is the most powerful endorsement in modern political history,” Moreno emphasized in an exclusive Fox News interview at his primary night celebration. “There’s never been anything like it before – probably won’t be anything like it afterwards.”

He added that Trump’s backing “was probably decisive” in his primary victory.

“I think it was a victory for the [Trump] agenda. For the America First agenda,” he added.

WILL REPUBLICANS IN OHIO REUNITE AFTER A BRUISING PRIMARY?

Dolan, who did not seek Trump’s support, told reporters after conceding that “I think it’s pretty self-evident that Donald Trump’s endorsement for Bernie Moreno was a key factor for Bernie winning.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, right, greets Ohio state senator and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Matt Dolan during a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, March 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Trump was aiming for a repeat performance in Ohio.

Two years ago, the former president backed now Sen. JD Vance in a crowded and combative Republican Senate nomination race, boosting Vance to victory in the 2022 primary a couple of weeks later. That primary also included Dolan and Moreno, who dropped out a couple of months ahead of the primary after meeting with Trump.

Fast-forward to the present, and Trump returned to Ohio this past weekend after Dolan surged in the polls and landed the endorsement of two-term Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and former Sen. Rob Portman, part of the state’s Republican old guard.

Trump, at a rally outside Dayton, claimed that Dolan was a “weak RINO” [a derogatory acronym which stands for “Republicans in name only”] and charged that the state senator is “trying to become the next Mitt Romney.”

Former President Trump speaks during a rally for Bernie Moreno in Vandalia, Ohio, on March 16, 2024. (KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and establishment Republican senator from Utah, is reviled by Trump and the MAGA movement.

Moreno was also joined on the campaign trail in the closing days by two top Trump allies – Vance and Arizona Senate candidate and 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake.

In the end, the support from Trump and team MAGA helped boost Moreno to a double-digit victory over Dolan, with LaRose a distant third.

GOP Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, left, campaigns on behalf of GOP Senate candidate Bernie Moreno as they speak with party activists in Independence, Ohio, on March 19, 2024. (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

Moreno was not the only Ohio Republican boosted by Trump.

This past weekend, the former president endorsed state Rep. Derek Merrin in the GOP primary in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. On Tuesday, Merrin was the projected winner over former state Rep. Craig Riedel.

With the departure of controversial candidate J.R. Majewski from the primary earlier this month, Republicans are hoping Merrin can defeat veteran Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in November.

“Donald Trump is the most important endorsement in Ohio, bar none,” longtime Republican strategist and 2016 Trump campaign veteran Mike Biundo told Fox News on the eve of the Ohio primary.

Biundo, who has worked on multiple campaigns in Ohio, emphasized that “Trump moves numbers and helps to hand victories to those he endorses. It’s just a fact. Just look at Sen. JD Vance. He owes his seat to the last minute Trump endorsement.”

The Trump endorsed candidate also came out on top in a contested GOP House primary in Illinois, where Rep. Mike Bost edged past former state lawmaker and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey.

And Vince Fong, endorsed by Trump and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was leading at last check in a special election to fill McCarthy’s vacant congressional seat in California.

However, Trump’s endorsement record in contested Republican primaries is not perfect.

“This is Trump’s party and his endorsement in contested primaries has proven to be helpful, but it’s not a lock,” veteran Republican strategist and communicator Ryan Williams noted.

An Ohio-based Republican consultant, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, last week called the Republican Senate primary “a litmus test” of Trump’s sway over the GOP.

“The real question is whether President Trump’s endorsement still carries weight with Republican primary voters in Ohio,” the consultant said. “It’s that simple and straight forward, and I think ultimately the answer is yes.”

Fox News’ Jamie Vera, Deirdre Heavey and Brooke Curto contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire. 

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