CLEVELAND — In mid-July State Senator Matt Dolan set out on a cross-state listening tour to see if there was enough support for him to launch a bid for the U.S. Senate, nine weeks later he says there was and so on Monday he did.
"First thing I heard is I can win and I can win because the message of what my positive experience, results-oriented experience resonated with people," Dolan told News 5. "That my issues of focusing on the economy, low taxes, less regulation resonated."
Dolan enters an already crowded field of Republican hopefuls including Former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, Former state GOP Chair Jane Timken, Author J.D. Vance and businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno. Each making their case to President Donald Trump in an effort to win over his supporters where Dolan is running as more a traditional conservative Republican.
"If you look at my record it is a conservative record," he said. "It is cutting taxes, it is reducing abortion, it's reducing regulations, it's investing in Lake Erie for economic reasons, it's passing meaningful language do stop the opiate crisis and human trafficking crisis. Those are conservative principles that resonate not just with Republicans but all Ohioans."
He said he sees himself as an edgier Rob Portman and said he supports the infrastructure bill Portman helped craft, a plan denounced by his opponents.
"I don't know how any of my opponents can stand in Cincinnati, can stand in Appalachia, can stand right here in Cleveland and say they represent Ohio when they are adamantly against much-needed economic development infrastructure dollars."
Dolan said if he was in the Senate earlier this year he would not have voted to impeach Trump and that he would support him in 2024 if he was the party's nominee.
Trump released the following statement on Dolan's bid:
"Anybody that changes the name of the once storied Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians should not be running for the United States Senate representing the Great People of Ohio. The Atlanta Braves didn’t change their name, and the Florida State Seminoles didn’t change their chant, but Cleveland has, and they were there first. Despite this, a man named Matt Dolan, the son of the owner of the team, said he is against Cancel Culture. Do those two things really work together? In any event, I know of at least one person in the race who I won’t be endorsing. The Republican Party has too many RINOs!"
He also said he supports Governor Mike DeWine in his re-election bid.
"I think Governor DeWine and I have a great working relationship, we haven't always agreed on what the end result would be but at the end of the day Governor DeWine and [Lt. Governor] Jon Husted have a run the state in a conservative manner," Dolan said. "Not always in agreement but that's not always to be expected in a contentious issue like politics."
Dolan's family owns the Cleveland Indians, soon to be Cleveland Guardians. On his website on the subject of cancel culture, he said "few understand the threat of cancel culture more than me." We asked if that was a reference to what the Indians went through with the name change.
"Yeah, I mean it's more of a reference to that I understand people's reactions to what the family did but we didn't do it in response to anything, it was a long decision to come to that. It wasn't a reaction to anything that's happening now. At the end of the day, we're in the business of baseball and the decision the family made is to focus on baseball and not get caught up in political issues. You don't want free agents coming into Cleveland and having to answer questions about the name, you want them focused on producing on the baseball field."
Dolan plans to get back out on the road meeting with more voters "but we're going to switch it more to a town hall-style campaign," he said. "Now we're going to go directly to the people, I want to tell them what I stand for and I'm going to let them talk to me and there won't be an issue that's off the table and I think that's what makes me unique in this campaign."