Election 2024

Anti-LGBTQ+ candidate with “Men for 1-on-1 sex” profile wins GOP primary

Bernie Moreno and his wife Bridget Moreno at a watch party for the Republican Party primary on March 19, 2024
Bernie Moreno and his wife Bridget Moreno at a watch party for the Republican Party primary on March 19, 2024 Photo: Mike Cardew / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bernie Moreno – a Republican who made headlines last week when a 2008 profile in his name and with his email address seeking sex with men was uncovered – won the GOP primary for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio yesterday.

With 96% of precincts reporting, Moreno has gotten 50.6% of the vote in Ohio, well ahead of second-place state Sen. Matt Dolan, who has 32.8% of the vote.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported on a 2008 online dating profile seeking “1-on-1” sexual encounters with “young guys” that was set up on the Adult Friend Finder website using a work email belonging to Ohio Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno. The AP confirmed that whoever set up the profile would have had to be able to access Moreno’s work email account.

The profile, listed under the username “nardo19672,” reportedly includes a caption reading, “Hi, looking for young guys to have fun with while traveling.” The username appears to reference Moreno’s full first name, Bernardo, and the month and year of his birth. The profile also lists his full date of birth but does not include a photo. Geolocation data also showed that the profile was set up by someone in a part of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Moreno’s parents owned a home in 2008. The profile has not been accessed since about six hours after it was created over 15 years ago.

Moreno’s lawyer, Charles Harder, claimed that Dan Ricci, who was an intern at Moreno’s company in late 2008, created the Adult Friend Finder profile.

“I am thoroughly embarrassed by an aborted prank I pulled on my friend and former boss, Bernie Moreno, nearly two decades ago,” Ricci said in a statement provided by Harder. According to the AP, Ricci donated $6,599 to Moreno’s Senate campaign in 2023.

Prior to his first Senate run in 2021, Moreno, who has said his eldest son is gay, was a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. But during his current campaign, he has accused advocates of LGBTQ+ rights of pushing a “radical” agenda of “indoctrination” and described his primary opponents as supporting a “radical trans agenda.” He has been endorsed by the anti-LGBTQ+ group Ohio Values Voters.

It was an endorsement from former president and current presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump that made Moreno a frontrunner for Ohio’s hotly contested Senate seat this year.

Moreno will face incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in the general election this fall.

In other primary results, Trump got 79% of the vote in Ohio, despite the fact that all of his opponents have already dropped out of the race.

He got 81% of the vote in Florida, the state he lives in, with Nikki Haley getting 155,461 votes, even though she dropped out several weeks ago.

In Arizona, Trump got 78% of the vote, losing over 100,000 votes to Haley.

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