WASHINGTON — Dealership owner Bernie Moreno on Thursday ended his campaign for one of Ohio's seats in the U.S. Senate after having a private meeting with former President Donald Trump.
"I am a businessman, not a politician. Business leaders recognize patterns before they happen," Moreno said in a statement. "After talking to President Trump, we both agreed this race has too many Trump candidates and could cost the [Make America Great Again] movement a conservative seat."
Moreno, 54, had been vying for the GOP nomination to succeed Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican who announced last January that he will not seek reelection. Portman's term expires this year.
Eight other Republican candidates are bidding for Portman's seat, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.
"This decision may surprise some, but it is what I feel gives us the best chance of success," Moreno said. "The stakes are too high."
Instead, Moreno will focus his efforts on supporting the candidate Trump endorses. The former president has not yet endorsed a candidate in Ohio's crowded U.S. primary.
Moreno in May told Automotive News that he planned to sell his majority stake in Infiniti of Coral Gables in Florida — his last remaining dealership — that summer to his partner in the store, Oleg Kislyansky.
Moreno confirmed Thursday that he still owns a 60 percent interest in the Infiniti store.