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U.S. News

Ohio businessman announces run for Portman's U.S. Senate seat

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) gives an opening statement during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs/Rules and Administration hearing to examine the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. March 3, 2021. Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, casting himself as a Republican outsider who would protect the “victories” of former President Donald Trump if elected to the seat of retiring Senator Rob Portman.

Moreno, 54, is the fifth Republican Senate hopeful to join an increasingly crowded field for 2022 that includes former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken and former state Treasurer Josh Mandel. Several other Republicans are considering runs.

Portman, 65, a Republican who entered the Senate a decade ago, announced his retirement in January, saying that deepening political divisions had made it harder to break through the partisan gridlock in Congress.

A car dealer and technology entrepreneur, Moreno posted a two-minute campaign video on Twitter in which he vowed to combat the agenda of “the socialist left,” saying that he left his native Colombia for the United States as a child with his mother and siblings to escape socialism.

He also vowed to “crack down on China” and pledged to reject campaign contributions from corporate political action committees.

“Four years ago, we sent Donald J. Trump, an outsider and businessman, to Washington to shake things up. And he did. We need to protect his victories,” Moreno says in the video.

“If we’re going to protect this country from the socialist left and keep this precious idea built on the concept of freedom, then we need outsiders who back up their words with action.”

Trump won Ohio by eight percentage points in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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