Ohio GOP Senate Candidate Bernie Moreno Confronts Controversy Amid Trump's Endorsement

Chloe Whisperwillow

Updated Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 11:19 AM CDT

Ohio GOP Senate Candidate Bernie Moreno Confronts Controversy Amid Trump's Endorsement

In a dramatic twist in Ohio's critical Senate race, GOP candidate Bernie Moreno is contending with allegations surrounding a 2008 Adult Friend Finder account purportedly linked to his email, an accusation he vehemently dismisses as a "last-minute smear campaign." The contentious account, which reportedly sought "young guys to have fun," has been compared by Moreno to past attacks on notable figures like Judge Brett Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump.

Despite the controversy, former President Donald Trump's endorsement of Moreno underscores his continued influence in the Ohio Senate Republican primary. Trump's support was on full display as a rally in Ohio went ahead as scheduled, with his spokesperson Steven Cheung decrying the media report as a "ridiculous slime job."

The Associated Press's investigation could only confirm that the Adult Friend Finder account was created by someone with access to Moreno's email, not necessarily Moreno himself. In a surprising development, Dan Ricci, a former intern for Moreno, claimed responsibility for the account, describing it as a prank during his time with access to Moreno's email.

Charles Harder, Moreno's attorney, has emphasized that numerous individuals had access to the email account in question, distancing Moreno from personal culpability. The account, which was never actively used, was short-lived, existing for less than half a day nearly 16 years ago.

Moreno, who refrained from discussing the Adult Friend Finder story at a recent Friday event, addressed the issue with reporters afterward. His campaign has garnered the backing of prominent conservative figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz, who lauded Moreno as the "strongest conservative who can win," and Rep. Jim Jordan.

In the Ohio Senate Republican primary, Moreno is up against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan, with the latter having establishment support. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has opted to remain neutral in the race, while the Democratic Party has made a significant ad buy of $2.7 million to bolster Moreno in the primary, possibly perceiving him as a less formidable opponent for the incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown in the general election.

Moreno's campaign, which has criticized the Associated Press report linking him to the Adult Friend Finder account as a "sick, last-minute attack by desperate people," continues to focus on issues such as the illegal immigration crisis and Nikki Haley's refusal to withdraw from the primary race. Charles Harder, Moreno's legal counsel, has staunchly defended Moreno, asserting his non-involvement in the creation of the Adult Friend Finder account.

The email linked to the Adult Friend Finder account was a staff-managed address, not Moreno's personal email, pointing to a collective responsibility rather than individual misdeed. Moreno's acknowledgment at a rally with Trump at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, on April 23, 2022, reaffirmed his standing in the GOP.

While a senior Republican strategist has cast doubt on the varying explanations from Moreno's campaign, none of his Republican primary opponents have publicly addressed the Adult Friend Finder account issue. The Ohio Senate race, marked as a "toss-up" by The Cook Political Report, is pivotal for the GOP, presenting one of their best chances for a pickup in the 2024 election cycle.

The story, which has become a focal point in Moreno's campaign, highlights the race's significance and Moreno's determination to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown in a contest that could shift the balance of power in the Senate.

Conservative Bias:

Folks, here we have yet another example of the left's desperate attempts to tarnish a strong conservative candidate. Bernie Moreno, a man of integrity and a true patriot, is being targeted by a leftist media smear campaign, reminiscent of the baseless witch hunts against Brett Kavanaugh and President Trump. The allegations about some silly Adult Friend Finder account from 2008 are nothing but a leftist ploy to derail Moreno's surging campaign. They can't stand the fact that he's backed by Trump and leading conservatives like Ted Cruz and Jim Jordan. And would you believe it? The Democrats are so scared of facing him in the general election that they're actually funding ads to help him in the primary, thinking they can beat him later. They're wrong. Moreno's focus on the real issues, like the illegal immigration crisis, shows he's the fighter Ohio needs to take back the Senate. The left's tactics are transparent and will not succeed in fooling the American people.

Liberal Bias:

Once again, the Republican party is shamelessly rallying behind a candidate mired in scandal. Bernie Moreno, now caught up in an Adult Friend Finder debacle, is yet another example of the GOP's moral bankruptcy. They're so desperate to cling to power that they'll ignore any indiscretion, as long as the candidate pledges loyalty to their demagogue, Donald Trump. Moreno's campaign is trying to dismiss this as a prank, but we know better. It's a reflection of the systemic rot within the Republican Party, which prioritizes power over principle. And the audacity of Republicans like Ted Cruz and Jim Jordan to endorse this man is appalling. It's no surprise that the GOP establishment is staying neutral—they're too spineless to take a stand. Meanwhile, the Democrats are strategically boosting Moreno, not out of fear, but because they know that the people of Ohio deserve better than another Trump sycophant. When it comes to the general election, rest assured, the voters will see through this charade and keep a true public servant like Sen. Sherrod Brown fighting for them in the Senate.

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