A political newcomer, backed by Donald Trump, won a crowded Republican primary on Tuesday night in an Ohio House special election, demonstrating the former president’s influence over his party.
Coal lobbyist Mike Carey, who had never held political office before, defeated 11 other Republicans for the nomination in Ohio’s 15th congressional district, replacing former Representative Steve Stivers. Many of its competitors also had the support of major Republicans.
The Associated Press mentioned the race for Carey, who will face Democrat Allison Russo in the November general election. Carey prefers to win the GOP-leaning district.
“Big Republican win for Mike Carey. Large numbers of! Thank you to Ohio and all our great American patriots. Congratulations to Mike and his family. He will never let you down!” Trump said in a statement after the race was called.
Carey was a little-known contender until he secured Trump’s endorsement — a sign of the former president’s influence over Republican voters deciding the party’s candidate. Carey is a close friend of Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager.
“Tonight, Republicans in Ohio’s 15th congressional district sent a clear message to the nation that President Donald J. Trump is without a doubt the leader of our party,” Carey said in a statement following his victory.
Tuesday’s two special house elections in Ohio tested both political parties: Trump’s influence over the Republican Party and the moderate and liberal divisions among Democrats.
Donald Trump-backed candidate, coal lobbyist Mike Carey (above), won Ohio’s crowded Republican primaries in the 15th congressional district
Mike Carey had never held elected office and was a little-known contender until Trump approved his campaign
The former president has touted his blessing as the political equivalent of a golden ticket. But he struggled to make up for his record after suffering a painful defeat in Texas when his nominee, Susan Wright, the widow of the Texas seat-back congressman who died of COVID in February, lost in the runoff election to another Republican. .
There was an assortment of other candidates leading the Republican primaries for the 15th district — all with their own big supporters:
- state Rep. Jeff LaRe, who was approved by Stivers to replace him in his seat
- Bob Peterson, a state senator who has the support of Ohio’s leading anti-abortion group, Ohio Right to Life
- Ruth Edmonds, who has a strong following among Christian conservatives and has the backing of Debbie Meadows, an activist and wife of Mark Meadows, the last Trump White House chief of staff
- former state representative Ron Hood, who has the backing of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
A pro-Trump super PAC has put $350,000 in ads in support of Carey.
Trump took part in a tele-rally for Carey on July 20, complaining that other candidates were trying to suggest they also had his endorsement.
“He is the only candidate in the race who has my full support,” Trump said of Carey during the interview, according to Bloomberg News. “I know Mike Carey, he’s a real outsider, he’s a real fighter, he’s a warrior and he’s going to win.”
Trump plans to get involved in a series of Republican primaries heading into next year’s midterm elections, particularly targeting those GOP lawmakers who supported his second impeachment.
Meanwhile, a moderate Democrat, backed by Hillary Clinton, won an Ohio House primary on Tuesday night in a contest that sparked a war between the party’s center and progressive wings.
Shontel Brown, who ran to support President Joe Biden, defeated Nina Turner, a progressive favorite backed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
NBC News has mentioned the race.
Brown also had the support of Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, the Democratic kingmaker whose endorsement landed Biden a victory in the South Carolina presidential primaries, saving his bid for the White House.
She will face Republican Laverne Gore in the November election. The Democrat prefers to win.
The primary battle in Ohio’s 11th congressional district turned nasty as Democrats competed over who would replace Democratic Representative Marcia Fudge, who named Biden as his housing secretary.
Shontel Brown, supported by Hillary Clinton and Rep. Jim Clyburn, defeated a progressive favorite to win a crowded Democratic primary in an Ohio House race
Democrats were at war in the 11th congressional district primaries – Bernie Sanders backed Nina Turner, a progressive favorite
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also endorsed Turner and campaigned for her in Cleveland last month
Brown and Turner emerged as the top contenders among the 13 Democrats active in the 11th district.
Big-name Democrats flooded the district. Clyburn was in to campaign for Brown, while Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez stumped for Turner.
Brown, a member of Cuyahoga County Council, has praised her support for Biden and his agenda.
Turner is a former state senator and a leading supporter of Sanders. She already has a national profile among progressives, who see her as a necessary force in Washington DC to counter Biden’s more moderate tendencies.
Sanders, who campaigned for her on Saturday, said: “I would have come (to the ward) because Nina is a close personal friend of mine and someone I admire. But the real reason I’m here is because we desperately need her in Congress.”
The Democratic contest got nasty.
Turner ran a commercial that questions Brown’s ethics and ends with the image of a prison door slamming shut.
She also criticized Brown for accepting a campaign contribution from Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, a close ally of Donald Trump.
Brown called Turner too much of an outsider and too critical of Biden to get anything done in Congress.
Outside money played a big part in the race. Democratic Majority for Israel, a super PAC, spent $1.2 million on ads in support of Brown and against Turner.
In special elections, turnout is usually low compared to midterm or presidential years. A candidate’s name — or the fame of their supporters — can be a big factor in determining the outcome.