Which Republicans can hit the sweet spot in the Ohio Senate race?

The political sweet spot for Republican candidates: Support Trump, sidestep his election denialism and hollow threats, and focus on traditional conservative policies while dwelling on left-wing excess. Don’t poke the bear, but don’t indulge his conspiratorial fantasies, either.

That’s the bet that former Ohio Republican Chairwoman Jane Timken is making in the state’s crowded Senate primary. Timken, a loyal Trump ally who steered his campaign to an easy victory in the Buckeye State last year, has the closest personal relationship to the former president of all the GOP contenders. She also holds a decidedly establishment resume as a Harvard-educated attorney and longtime GOP donor whose husband served as the chairman of a billion-dollar steel company. While many of her rivals have renounced their past criticism of the former president—or even made performative gestures like mask burning to prove their right-wing bona fides—Timken has the luxury of sticking to the conservative mainstream, using Trump as a validator while talking about inflation, border security, and energy policy on the campaign trail…

In an interview at her campaign headquarters in mid-July, Timken pointed to the pragmatic senator she’s seeking to replace—mild-mannered Rob Portman—as a political role model, along with Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. She expressed cautious support for the bipartisan infrastructure package that a group of Republican and Democratic senators, including the retiring Portman, had been negotiating.