First on Fox – Political leaders in a small Ohio town that was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this year after a train derailed that released hazardous materials are backing a competitive GOP primary for the state Senate in a race that could determine what… Whether Republicans will reclaim the election or not. The majority of the room.
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conway and Fire Chief Keith Drabek, as well as Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigel, are backed by state Sen. Matt Dolan. The announcement was first shared with Fox News on Wednesday.
Dolan, a former district attorney and assistant attorney general in Ohio, whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians, is one of three major Republicans vying for their party’s 2024 nomination in the race to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in the 2024 election. A battleground for a one-time general election that has turned red in recent cycles.
The small town, located along the Pennsylvania border about 20 miles south of Youngstown, Ohio, was the site of a train derailment in February, which spilled hazardous chemicals into the air, soil and water and prompted large evacuations.
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The accident led to congressional hearings and a bipartisan railroad safety bill. Nine months after the train derailment, life remains shattered in eastern Palestine as South Norfolk continues the clean-up.
Supporting Dolan, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conway said in a statement that “in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, Ohioans came together from many walks of life to lift each other up and begin the healing process that continues today. And through it all, one person has stood out.” A leader among many for his response-focused and results-driven efforts.”
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“Matt Dolan didn’t come here for the headlines or the cameras or the social media clicks. He showed up quietly, rolled up his sleeves and asked how he could help. And every day, Matt stood with East Palestine, and as we continued to rebuild,” he focused We recognize the needs of our community and work with us to develop a recovery plan that gets results. That’s why I’m proud to stand alongside Matt Dolan,” Conway affirmed.
Keith Drabek, the town’s fire chief, emphasized that Dolan “cares about results, not who gets the credit. He took the time to come here, visit with our staff, understand the challenges we face, and work in a way that serves others. We need more leaders like Matt Dolan.”
Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigel said Dolan “has taken a personal interest in the rebuilding and success of our community, and that makes him exactly the kind of public servant we need in Washington.”
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Referring to the anomaly, Dolan said in a statement: “This year our entire nation has seen Columbiana County embody resilience, hard work and resolve. When the anomaly occurred, local leaders and first responders stepped up. They were not taken seriously.” “No” for the answer. They worked together to hold intergovernmental leaders, agencies, and private companies alike to account, and demanded results.
“In the United States Senate, I will never stop working to build on the progress they have made and deliver results for East Palestine, Columbiana County, and our entire state,” Dolan pledged.
Dolan is in a three-way battle for the Republican Senate nomination, along with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Bernie Moreno, a successful Cleveland-based businessman and luxury car giant.
Dolan and Moreno are making their second consecutive run for the Senate. Moreno suspended his campaign two months before the May 2022 primary. Dolan surged toward the end of the primary race, finishing third, behind former state Treasurer Josh Mandel.
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The 2022 nomination was won by former hedge fund executive and best-selling author J.D. Vance, who received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump just before the primary. Vance went on to defeat Democratic Representative Tim Ryan in last year’s general election to succeed retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman.
Earlier this year, Vance endorsed Moreno, but Trump has so far remained neutral in the three-way primary battle.
Trump visited eastern Palestine after the train derailed, and praised the mayor’s efforts. The town is located in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, which is part of the Rust Belt, where working-class voters dominate. Trump made significant gains for Republicans in an area that was previously a Democratic stronghold.
Brown, the only Democrat to win statewide in Ohio over the past decade, will be heavily targeted by Republicans in a state that was once a premier battleground before turning red.
Democrats currently control the US Senate by a 51-49 majority, but Republicans are looking at a very favorable Senate map in 2024, with Democrats defending 23 of the 34 seats. Three of those seats are in red states that Trump won in 2020: Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election.
Five other seats are in key swing states that Biden will narrowly win in 2020: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more in the Fox News Digital Election Center.