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Why AP called Ohio’s Republican US Senate primary for Bernie Moreno: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — A strong performance among voters who cast their ballots on Tuesday — the day of the election in Ohio — powered Bernie Moreno to a win in the state’s GOP primary for the U.S. Senate.

The Associated Press declared Moreno the winner at 8:35 p.m. EDT, when he led state Sen. Matt Dolan 41% to 37%. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose was in third place with 22%.

Moreno is a Cleveland businessman who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

The AP was able to determine the winner by analyzing not just the overall vote totals but also the methods in which voters cast their ballots.

Moreno built a sizable lead among votes cast on election day. Since the issue of early voting became highly politicized after the 2020 presidential election, election day voting has tended to favor Republicans and conservatives, while votes cast before election day have tended to favor Democrats and moderates.

Dolan cast himself as the more moderate option in the primary and performed better in the state’s heavily Democratic areas as well as among voters who cast their ballots before election day. When the first votes were reported, Dolan built a lead among pre-election day votes.

Over the next hour, Dolan’s lead among pre-election day votes shrank, and as votes cast on election day started to be released, Moreno overtook Dolan for the lead.

As more pre-election day votes were tabulated and with the bulk of the election day vote yet to be counted, the prospects for Dolan retaking the lead dissipated.

Robert Yoon, The Associated Press