AKRON, Ohio — The three Ohio Republican U.S. Senate candidates participated in a panel discussion in Akron Thursday evening. The event was hosted by The Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.

It was called "The 2023 candidates conference and leadership reception." 

What You Need To Know

  • Candidates spoke about critical reasons they are running for the U.S. Senate seat

  • The primary election is next March so the campaign trail has officially begun

  • The candidates say they are running to help fix Washington politics

The 2024 campaign for senate has already begun.

State Senator Matt Dolan, businessman Bernie Moreno, and the sitting Secretary of State Frank LaRose hope to challenge incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in the general election a little more than one year from now.

They say their goal is to help fix Washington politics. Dolan said his achievements in passing legislation and a conservative budget at the Ohio Statehouse help make him a good candidate. 

“I want to focus on what I’ve been able to accomplish in Ohio,” Dolan said. “Bring that to Washington, and I want to make sure America remains a strong economic and national leader internationally.” 

All candidates told the audience that they want to provide regulatory relief and slash taxes to help reduce inflation.

“Hacking away at those regulations is going to be really one of the first jobs for me,” said LaRose. “But, also making the Trump tax cuts permanent. Those are set to expire in 2025. And let’s be clear, if those tax cuts expire, it is a massive tax increase. It would hurt every family in Ohio. I’ll be working to make those tax cuts permanent and to cut spending so that we don’t have to consider, you know, trying to find more revenue that the government in Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem.”

Senate candidate Bernie Moreno says he would like to look closely at reform, focusing on employment and bringing in more skilled workers.

During the panel discussion, all candidates agreed illegal immigration is a major issue America faces. LaRose said the U.S. needs better border control to help with the illicit drug problem. Dolan also says human trafficking is a major problem associated with the border. Moreno also expressed concern about how America is dealing with undocumented immigrants. 

“They falsely claim asylum and then they stayed behind that asylum claim. Well, my opponents want to reward them by letting them stay here. That’s only going to encourage more illegal immigration,” Moreno said. 

All panelists mentioned similar beliefs claiming to have a different experience in various sectors of the state, which could make them a better candidate. Dolan and Moreno are known to be independently wealthy on the campaign trail, which could be a plus for the Republican seat. 

As the 2024 primary election nears in March, the three hope to continue to participate in debates and panel discussions.