Ohio and Indiana Voting Tuesday kicks off a busy first month that will set up some of the key races for this year’s midterm exams.
In both states, voters will choose their nominees in newly redrawn congressional districts. In the Cleveland area, that means a Democratic rematch that could provide a window into the strength of the party’s progressive wing more than a year into Joe Biden’s presidency.
Here are five things to watch on Tuesday:
The broad Senate primary: The seven-candidate GOP race to replace outgoing Republican Senator Rob Portman has a huge slate of undecided primary voters choosing from a range of options: the candidate who endorsed former President Trump; one of the many who tried to emulate him; or the one who represents a break with Trumpism.
Polls show that Trump-backed JD Vance, the author of “Hillbilly Elegy” and venture capitalist, and Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer who has embraced Trump’s cultural struggles and campaigned with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, are leading the way in stand on the field.
However, there are indications that state senator Matt Dolan is a late sleeper. Dolan, whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians, is the only candidate who hasn’t echoed Trump’s lies about voter fraud. Dolan saw his stock soar in a Fox News poll last week, finding him 11% support, compared to 7% in March.
The other Republican Senate candidates, self-financing businessman Mike Gibbons and former GOP chairman Jane Timken, Portman’s favorite candidate, have faded in the polls in the latest polls of the race.
Test of Trump’s Influence: Mandel’s campaign signs read that he is “pro-God, pro-guns, pro-Trump.” Gibbons offered himself as a businessman, not a politician, in the form of Trump. Timken praised Trump’s role in elevating her to GOP chair of the state in 2017.
But the former president eschewed them all and backed Vance, who was a vocal opponent of Trump in 2016 but has since retracted that criticism. Trump’s decision infuriated many Republicans in Ohio and confused some GOP voters, who were immediately bombarded by pro-Vance ads praising Trump’s support and anti-Vance ads showing him he’d like Hillary Clinton in 2016. vote and that some Trump supporters “voted for (Trump) for racist reasons.”
Tim Ryan looking for room in Ohio: The Democratic Senate primary election of Rep. Tim Ryan v. Attorney Morgan Harper is largely a foregone conclusion. How Ryan positions himself in the general election — and what his run will say about the future of Democrats in the state — will be anything but inevitable.
Ryan wants to do something that has eluded all Democrats who haven’t been called Senator Sherrod Brown for years: win a statewide race in Ohio. No Democrat other than Brown has won non-legal statewide office in Ohio since 2008, and President Barack Obama was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win Ohio in 2012. Ryan is also trying to achieve this feat at a particularly difficult time for Democrats as the party faces historic and economic headwinds.
Battle for the soul of the Democratic Party – again: For the second time in less than a year, Democrats Shontel Brown, now a member of the United States House of Representatives, and Nina Turner face each other in a thrilling race to become their party’s candidate in Ohio’s 11th congressional district.
Though Brown is now the incumbent, progressives are once again campaigning fervently to claim the heavily Democratic seat—while trying to ensure that, whatever happens in November, the House Democrats are a more progressive group in the next Congress. Turner has the support of leading progressives from across the country and, like last year, the editorial board of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland.
On Brown’s side are President Joe Biden, who backed her in late April, along with a handful of top Democratic officials and moderate-friendly outside groups like the Democratic Majority for Israel’s super PAC, which says more than $1.1 million. spent on her campaign.
The Republican Primary Clash That Wasn’t: There was a time when incumbent administration Mike DeWine seemed vulnerable to a challenge from Trump-aligned candidates running to his right.
DeWine, who spent decades in federal and state positions, is a conservative-established titan in Ohio, but even as the state has moved to the right, DeWine—both temperamental and political—has remained at the center of the GOP.
Victory for DeWine in an Ohio campaign season dominated by the GOP’s wild primaries would also highlight the unique difficulties facing right-wing candidates, either aligned or supported by Trump in statewide elections, where some of moderation seems to have more appeal than in federal races.
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