Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will win Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial primary, CNN projects, fending off challengers from his right flank as he seeks a second term.
The Ohio and Indiana primaries kick off a pivotal month of nominating contests that will test former President Donald Trump’s power of approval. Although Trump did not endorse Ohio’s gubernatorial primary, he played a significant role in the Senate contest to replace retired Republican Senator Rob Portman.
As Democrats and Republicans battle for control of Congress this fall, which will determine whether President Joe Biden can advance any aspect of his agenda after 2022, nearly half of the Senate’s most competitive clashes American will probably take place by the end of this month.
In Ohio, a blushing state that Trump has won twice, the former president backed JD Vance, the venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author who was an outspoken critic of Trump in 2016 but now says his initial judgment on him was wrong.
“It’s normal to change your mind. In fact, you should change your mind when the facts change and I think that’s the truth about my view of President Trump,” Vance said Monday.
Trump’s endorsement of Vance may have created momentum for the author, helping him roughly double his support between a Fox poll in March and another in April.
But most of the other top GOP candidates vying for the Ohio Senate seat — including former state treasurer Josh Mandel, businessman Mike Gibbons and former party chairwoman State Jane Timken, all of whom sought Trump’s endorsement — hammered Vance for his past statements about the former president, arguing they raised questions about his authenticity as a conservative.
Club for Growth Action, which backed Mandel, hammered home that theme in the final days of the race — seeking to capitalize on the fact that about a quarter of GOP primary voters were still undecided, according to the April Fox poll in which the half of those who expressed a candidate preference and said they could change their mind.
State Sen. Matt Dolan, the only Republican who had urged the GOP to pass the 2020 election and rejected Trump’s bogus claims about the results, saw his support rise in this poll from the previous month, but was not at the top of the pack.
Trump underlined the power of his endorsements at a rally in Nebraska last weekend where he mentioned his chosen Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, famed surgeon Mehmet Oz and Vance, though he mutilated Vance’s name – seeming to confuse the author with Mandel, Vance’s main rival, before correcting himself. (Oz is in a close race with former hedge fund executive David McCormick in Pennsylvania, which holds its primaries on May 17.)
Addressing past criticism of Vance during a tele-rally for him on the eve of the election, Trump said Vance had “said some negative things about me, but he made up for it in spades.”
“I think I can say that he is 1000% with us,” added the former president.
Mandel, in turn, got help in the final days of the campaign from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who urged Republicans in Ohio to pay less attention to endorsements and more to the consistency of the presidential record. a candidate as a curator.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Tim Ryan will win the Senate primary, CNN projects. He had shored up his party’s support in the contest against Morgan Harper, a lawyer and former senior advisor to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ryan will face an uphill battle in this state that Trump won by 8 points in 2020.
As the heated political debate over masking, vaccine mandates and pandemic-era public health protocols receded, DeWine seemed poised to overcome challenges from former U.S. Representative Jim Renacci and farmer Joe Blystone.
The governor, who forged deep ties in Republican circles over many years of public service in Ohio, won national acclaim early in the pandemic for his careful handling of rising cases of Covid-19. But as the pandemic restrictions became more polarizing, he became a frequent target of the right and of Trump, which seemed to make him vulnerable as he set out to win a second term as governor.
DeWine had maintained a large lead in recent polls, in part because Renacci and Blystone split the anti-incumbent vote on the Republican side as they promised to protect Ohioans from what they call government overreach.
On the Democratic side, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley will beat former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley of CNN Projects. She will face a tough climb against DeWine in November.
In Ohio’s 11th congressional district, there’s a rematch between Democratic Rep. Shontel Brown and Nina Turner. Brown has won support from Biden as well as some moderate outside groups, but Turner, a former Ohio state senator who was a key player in Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, had hoped to galvanize progressives to lead it to victory. in the newly drawn neighborhood, which includes more of Cleveland.
In Indiana, GOP Sen. Todd Young and Democrat Thomas McDermott, who is the mayor of Hammond, are running unchallenged in their respective Senate primaries on Tuesday.
This story has been updated with additional developments.