Trump’s Endorsed Candidate Wins Republican Primary in Ohio
(Bloomberg) -- A candidate endorsed by Donald Trump won a special Republican primary race for a U.S. House seat in Ohio on Tuesday, bolstering the former president’s efforts to steer election outcomes heading into the 2022 congressional races.
Coal industry consultant and lobbyist Mike Carey defeated 10 other candidates in a crowded GOP primary to replace former Representative Steve Stivers, who resigned in May to lead the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, according to results from The Associated Press. Carey will now face state Representative Allison Russo, who won the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 2 special general election to fill the seat.
In a special Democratic primary for another open congressional seat in Ohio that became a proxy fight between the party’s progressive and centrist wings over support for President Joe Biden, establishment-backed Shontel Brown defeated Nina Turner and 11 other candidates, according to the Associated Press.
Carey’s victory comes a week after Susan Wright, whom Trump endorsed to replace her late husband, former U.S. Representative Ron Wright, lost a runoff election in Texas to Republican state Representative Jake Ellzey. Trump has regularly said that almost every candidate he supports wins easily and that his endorsement is the most powerful and sought-after in politics.
Another Trump-backed candidate losing in consecutive weeks would have prompted questions about the former president’s political operation and ability to influence 2022 midterm election races, as well as his grip on the Republican Party as he holds out the prospect of running again for president in 2024.
“Tonight, Republicans across 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.
In the special Democratic primary to replace Marcia Fudge, who resigned in March to become Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, Brown, a Cuyahoga County councilwoman and Democratic chairwoman, topped Turner, who was a national co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. Brown will face Republican nominee Laverne Gore in the Nov. 2 special general election, but the Cleveland-area district is solidly Democratic.
Turner had the backing of Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while Brown was supported by establishment Democrats such as 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, whose endorsement of Biden helped him win the party’s nomination.
Brown build an early lead with the absentee and in-person votes cast before Tuesday and held off Turner’s support with votes cast on Tuesday, according to unofficial totals reported by AP. Spending for television and radio ads by Brown and outside groups supporting her in the final eight days before the primary topped that for Turner, according to Medium Buying, a firm that tracks ad spending.
In the Republican primary for Stivers’ seat, Trump joined a tele-rally for Carey, a consultant at American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc. and past president of the Ohio Coal Association, on July 20 and again on Monday night, and a Trump-based super PAC reported spending more than $417,000 on TV and digital ads, text messaging and emailing in a last-minute push for Carey, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
“A lot of people are watching this one, it’s a big deal. So please get out and vote for Mike Carey,” Trump said on Monday. In a statement after Carey’s victory on Tuesday, Trump called it a “great Republican win” for Carey and said “thank you to Ohio and all of our wonderful American patriots.”
There were other prominent GOP endorsements competing with Trump’s. Stivers backed Ohio Representative Jeff LaRe and aired campaign ads for him; Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and his affiliated super PAC supported former state Representative Ron Hood; the Republican organization of Franklin County, which includes Columbus, endorsed state Senator Stephanie Kunze; and Ruth Edmonds had the backing of the Right Women PAC led by Debbie Meadows, wife of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Bob Peterson, a farmer who has represented parts of the district as a state senator, touted endorsements from 150 local GOP leaders and Ohio Right to Life.
The sprawling district encompasses all or parts of 12 counties and includes Columbus suburbs and parts of rural Appalachia. Trump carried the solidly Republican-leaning district with 57% of the vote in 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government.
Carey won 37% of the vote unofficially with 96% of precincts reporting, according to AP, easily topping Hood, Peterson and LaRe, who all had about 13% in an August race with low turnout. Carey was on track to win all but one of the counties in the district.
Before Tuesday’s primary, Carey had cited a June poll of likely GOP primary voters by Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio that showed his support jumped from 20% to 52% when voters were told about Trump’s endorsement.
“When people know that President Trump has endorsed me, they’re going to vote for me,” Carey said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.