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Ex-state GOP chair gets ‘blue’ support

Former NYC police commissioner endorses Timken in Senate race

Staff photo / Andy Gray From left, Jane Timken, who is running for the Republican nomination to succeed Rob Portman in the U.S. Senate, and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik speak at a “Back the Blue” rally Saturday at Mahoning County GOP Headquarters in Boardman.

BOARDMAN — Jane Timken and Bernie Kerik came to the Mahoning County GOP Headquarters Saturday for an event that was part “Back the Blue” rally and part campaign stop.

Timken, who is running for the Republican nomination to succeed Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in the U.S. Senate, and Bernie Kerik, who was police commissioner in New York City when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred, both spoke out in support of law enforcement.

“I’m standing up to be your next senator because under my leadership we’re going to hold criminals accountable for their crimes and hold up police officers as our heroes,” Timken told the audience.

“Cops go out everyday, put their lives on the line for people they don’t know,” Kerik said,

Out of the 400 first responders who died in the 2001 attack, 23 worked for Kerik.

“Cops went into Tower One even after Tower Two imploded,” he said. “They knew what could happen, and they didn’t care and they didn’t stop. They continued moving forward.”

About 80 people filled the headquarters for the event, including several current and former law enforcement officers.

After getting his photo taken with Kerik and Timken, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Hamilton said, “I had to come support the commissioner, show respect.”

The crowd applauded frequently while Timken and Kerik spoke, cheered when former President Donald Trump was mentioned and booed current President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, who is the likely Democratic nominee for Portman’s seat.

Kerik said he was endorsing Timken in the crowded Republican field — which also includes former state treasurer Josh Mandel, businessman Bernie Moreno, investment banker Mike Gibbons and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance — because of her support for Trump. Before leaving office, Trump pardoned Kerik, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of receiving $165,000 in free renovations from a company seeking a city license and eight federal charges of tax fraud and making false statements.

“In the beginning nobody wanted to go near him (Trump) in Ohio, they wanted nothing to do with him,” Kerik said. “Some of them are running for United States Senate. Only one person stood out and said, ‘I’m endorsing him. I’m going to fight for him and make sure he wins,’ and that’s Jane Timken. I know all the players in the race, and there’s only one I would endorse.”

Before the public event, Timken said her experience as chair of the Ohio Republican Party gives her an advantage over the other Republican challengers for Portman’s seat.

“I know how to win Ohio. I am the only grassroots, ground-game, America-first candidate,” she said. “With President Trump and the rest of the Republican ticket in 2018 and 2020, we set record numbers of door knocks and phone calls to turn out the vote.”

She said she’s the only candidate with campaign chairs in all 88 Ohio counties, and she also has campaign donors from each county with 85 percent of her funds raised in state.

“As I travel around the state, more and more people are showing up at events like this. It feels a lot like 2010. People are upset with what’s happening in this country,” she said, listing such issues as immigration, rising gas prices, the economy and the current turmoil in Afghanistan. “I expect a lot of independents and some right-leaning Democrats to come home to the Republican Party.”

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