With May set up as a crucial month full of bellwether primaries for Donald Trump, the first round was a clear win for the former President.
Trump saw his preferred candidates prevail throughout the Buckeye State, led by a late surge from bestselling author J.D. Vance in the Ohio Senate GOP primary.
Ohio Senate Race
As late as mid-April polling found Vance stuck in third place, with former State Treasurer Josh Mandel and investment banker Mike Gibbons battling for the top spot.
While Mandel and Gibbons were nearly getting into a fistfight at a debate, Vance was securing Trump’s endorsement. Trump backed Vance despite the author’s harsh criticism during the 2016 campaign, reportedly thanks to a push from billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel is both a mentor to Vance as well as an influential Trump advisor.
With nearly all of the vote in, Vance stands at 32.2% while Mandel will have to settle for second place with 23.8%. Cable scion and Cleveland Guardians owner Matt Dolan, the one candidate Trump explicitly condemned, finished third at 23.3%.
That debate episode, and the rise of Dolan, caused Gibbons to collapse down to 11.6%. Party Chair Jane Timken never recovered from her opponent’s efforts to convince Trump that she was weak. She ended with just 5.8%.
Over on the Democratic side, Congressman and 2020 Presidential candidate Tim Ryan easily won the nomination with 69.7%. Ryan has a known brand as a working-class Democrat, and will try to recapture the magic Sherrod Brown rode to victory in 2006, 2012 and 2018. All those cycles were strongly Democratic, however, whereas 2022 is on track to be a Republican wave.
Ohio Governor’s Race
At the top of the ballot, Ohio voters were also voting for Governor. Incumbent Mike DeWine was widely expected to win renomination despite a pair of conservative challengers. The Governor was successfully able to keep Trump out of his race, and that may’ve made the difference.
DeWine finished with 48.1%, while his opponents Jim Renacci and Joe Blystone split the protest vote with 28.0% and 21.7% respectively.
Meanwhile, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (65.0%) won the Democratic nomination over former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley (34.9%). Whaley will start off as a heavy underdog against DeWine.
Ohio Secretary of State
One final note on the statewide contests, as incumbent Secretary of State Frank LaRose won renomination with 64.6%. LaRose held off the challenge from former State Rep. John Adams (35.3%) thanks to a show of support from Donald Trump.
Ohio Congressional Races
In the Buckeye State’s 7th Congressional District, former Trump White House aide Max Miller cruised to the Republican nomination with 71.8%. Miller’s ascension was practically assured after Congressman Bob Gibbs dropped out of the race last month. Gibbs was reacting to Trump’s endorsement of Miller (sense a pattern yet?). Miller is also the latest in a long-line of Trump endorsees to be accused of sexual assault and/or misconduct.
While the 7th makes up part of the area just outside of Cleveland, the 11th district covers the city itself. Freshman Democrat Shontel Brown won a special election last year against top Bernie Sanders aide Nina Turner. In a rematch, Brown easily prevailed over Turner again, 66.5% to 33.4%.
This time, save for a statement from Bernie and a last-minute endorsement from AOC, few progressive groups and politicians chose to go all in behind the often abrasive Turner. On the other hand, Brown scored the support of President Biden, giving the Chief Executive an easy but much needed win.
Up in the state’s Northwestern corner, Republicans await a nominee in the 9th district. With 75% of precincts in, veteran J.R. Majewski leads the field with 35.9%. State Sen. Theresa Gavarone sits in second with 30.2% while State Rep. Craig Riedel is just behind at 28.9%. The eventual winner will take on vulnerable long-time Democratic incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur.
Finally, we turn our attention to Ohio’s toss-up 13th district. While former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes ran uncontested in the Democratic primary, Republican Madison Gilbert prevailed over six other GOP candidates with 28.6%. As you probably expected by now, Gilbert’s victory was due in part from the support of Donald Trump.
Indiana Congressional Race
At long last, we make it to the Hoosier State. Unfortunately for Indiana, or fortunately I guess depending on your point of view, they had only one closely-watched race Tuesday night.
In the state’s Southeastern corner, a group of Republicans fought for the heavily red, open 9th district. With nearly all the votes in, State Senator Erin Houchin won the nomination with 37.3%. Former Congressman Mike Sodrel had to settle for second place (25.7%) and veteran Stu Barnes-Israel came in third (20.9%). Houchin is now heavily favored to win the seat in November.