A pair of special election primaries on Tuesday in Ohio will focus on tough questions facing both parties ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
In the state’s heavily Democratic 11th Congressional District, centered in Cleveland, Voters ready to choose Between a progressive champion with close ties to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the leader of a moderate county party backed by the national establishment.
Down in the GOP-leaning 15th Congressional District, Republicans are watching On a possible replay of last week Special Elections in Texas, where the support of former President Donald Trump was not enough to influence the race of his chosen candidate. Trump, once again, is facing the test of his influence – especially with suburban voters – and questions over his decision to enter the race.
Neither result is expected to have a more tangible effect on current Congressional actions – the 11th district is a sure bet to remain blue, while the 15th district is almost likely to remain red and the general election is not until November – but voters As they sift through multimillion-dollar outdoor advertisements, the leadership of both parties has an opportunity to send a message about what kind of candidates they might favor in 2022.
Voting closes at 7:30 pm ET.
Ohio’s 11th District race has turned into a proxy war, with the generational and ideological cracks that are narrowing within the Democratic Party — but largely hidden in the early months of Joe Biden’s presidency — burst into full view. have been
High-profile surrogates have converged in the district, a heavily Democratic region that stretches from Cleveland to Akron. Sanders and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for Nina Turner in the closing days of the race. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus campaigned for Schontel Brown in Cleveland.
Clyburn was the kingmaker in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary when his Support surprised Biden For an emphatic victory in the South Carolina primary – a victory that set Biden on course to deliver a knockout blow against Sanders on Super Tuesday.
And in Cleveland over the weekend, Clyburn made clear that his goal was to deliver Biden, another ally in Congress, and deprive the progressive “squad” of adding another member and tilting the balance of power within the House Democratic caucus.
“I don’t understand why people think that the whole agenda should be yours. That’s not how the world works,” Clyburn told CNN. “We have to sit down, find common ground, sort out differences and put forward an agenda. That’s what the president is doing and that’s why he’s been so successful.”
Progressives have zeroed in on such districts—heavily Democratic, where the primary typically decides the general election winner—since 2018, when Ocasio-Cortez ousted the then-Rep. Joe Crowley in New York. In the last two election cycles, he has added to his Congressional ranks with a series of successful primary challenges.
But the victory of Turner, the former state senator and a major supporter of Sanders over two presidential campaigns, will be affected differently. Turner didn’t emerge from political obscurity to run the race—he’s already a national figure and his fortune will extend well beyond the boundaries of the district.
Although he has highlighted his past support for figures such as former President Barack Obama during the campaign, Turner is dear to the left. He is seen as a true believer and, at a time when some progressives are uneasy about the Progressives’ alliance with the Biden administration, someone who will not fear pressure from the White House and Congressional leadership.
Other left-wing candidates have drawn support from affiliated groups, but some have attracted the kind of surrogate support that has cycled through Cleveland over the past few weeks. Ocasio-Cortez visited two weeks ago, former NAACP president Ben Jeevous has been on the field, and Sanders, along with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and racial justice activist Cornell West, have been on the get-out-the-vote sometime in the past. appeared for the programmes. Day.
Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders made unusually personal arguments for Democrats to elevate Turner — and provide him with a credible ally for intra-party conflicts.
“We need Nina. I need Nina,” Ocasio-Cortez said during his visit. “Please send me Nina!”
Sanders struck a similar note on Saturday: “I would come (to the district) because Nina is a close personal friend of mine and whom I admire,” he said. “But the real reason I’m here is that we desperately need him in the US Congress.”
a week later Trump-Backed Republicans Lost a Runoff For a congressional seat in Texas, the value of the former president’s endorsement will be put to another test in Ohio’s 15th district GOP primary.
Trump backed coal lobbyist Mike Carey in the race to replace former Representative Steve Stivers, who had resigned to take a job with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. A pro-Trump super PAC has invested $350,000 in supporting Carey.
But Carey is facing a crowded field of competitors, including Stivers-backed State Representative Jeff Lare, a former sheriff’s deputy. There are other outsiders in the 15th District Race: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul backed Ron Hood, a former state lawmaker who has criticized Paul as the nation’s chief infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci. And Debbie Meadows, the wife of Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and several other influential conservative activists are aligned with former Columbus NAACP president Ruth Edmonds.
Special elections are volatile political climate: candidates have only a few months left to raise money and campaign. That is likely to be only a small fraction of what the district will see in the midterm or presidential election year. And a crowded field can split even that small part of the vote.
Polls show that a large proportion of Republicans support Trump. But, now that he’s out of office, it’s less clear whether the party’s voters are eager to purge its ranks of those not aligned with Trump—a former president’s run in next year’s midterm elections. clear goal. Ohio’s 15th district will provide the latest test of how closely Republican voters are willing to follow Trump.
No matter the results on Tuesday, analysts will be quick to dig into the numbers and study how Carey fared in the Columbus suburbs, which include sections of Fairfield and Franklin counties, and nearly half of the district’s registered voters. Huh.
Trump’s overall margin in the district improved during his second round, but a closer look reveals — perhaps unsurprisingly — that modest growth was fueled by stronger numbers in its more rural communities.
The 2020 results from Franklin County – home to Columbus and its suburbs – offer some insight into Trump’s soft spot.
The former president lost the county in both of his elections, with equal shares voting for him, but support for the Democratic nominee increased from 59.8% for Hillary Clinton in 2016 to 64.9% for Biden last year.
It’s not an apples-to-apples indicator, as only parts of Columbus fall within the congressional district boundaries, but if Kerry fared poorly in the suburbs, Republicans had about the same number of candidates facing the same electorate. I will have more reason to worry – exactly what they need to win in 2022 to claim a majority of the House.
Whether that kind of warning sign would be enough to persuade some swing district Republican candidates to deviate from Trump, even if only looked at his election lies. But Carey’s performance among a very small group of voters within what is expected to be a low turnout election could have a big impact on the big race to come.