A political newcomer backed by Donald Trump won a crowded Republican primary contest in an Ohio House special election Tuesday night, showing the former president’s influence on his party.
Coal lobbyist Mike Carey, who never held political office before, beat out 11 other Republicans for the nomination in Ohio’s 15th Congressional district, to replace former Rep. Steve Stivers. Many of his competitors also had the backing of big-name Republicans.
The Associated Press called the race for Carey, who will compete against Democrat Allison Russo in the November general election. Carey is favored to win the GOP-leaning district.
‘Great Republican win for Mike Carey. Big numbers! Thank you to Ohio and all of our wonderful 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 earned Trump’s endorsement – a sign of the former president’s influence on the Republican voters who decide the party’s nominee. Carey is a close friend of Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager.
‘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 after his victory.
Donald Trump backed candidate, coal lobbyist Mike Carey (above), won Ohio’s crowded Republican primary in the 15th Congressional district
Mike Carey had never held elected office and was a little known contender until Trump endorsed his campaign
The former president has touted his blessing as the political equivalent of a golden ticket. But he’s struggled to redeem his record after suffering an embarrassing lose in Texas when his candidate, Susan Wright, the widow of the congressman from the Texas seat who died of COVID in February, lost to another Republican in the runoff.
There was an assortment of other candidates running the Republican primary for the 15th district – all with their own big name backers:
- state Rep. Jeff LaRe, who was endorsed by Stivers to replace him in his seat
- Bob Peterson, a state senator who has the backing of Ohio’s leading anti-abortion group, Ohio Right to Life
- Ruth Edmonds, who has a strong following among Christian conservatives and the backing of Debbie Meadows, an activist and the wife of Mark Meadows, Trump’s last White House chief of staff
- former state Rep. Ron Hood, who has the backing of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
A pro-Trump super PAC has put $350,000 into ads backing Carey.
Trump joined a tele-rally for Carey on July 20 and complained that other candidates were trying to suggest they also had his endorsement.
‘He’s the only candidate in the race that has my complete and total endorsement,’ Trump said of Carey on the call, according to Bloomberg News. ‘I know Mike Carey, he’s a true outsider, he’s a true fighter, he’s a warrior, and he’s going to win.’
Trump is planning to get involved in a series of Republican primaries headed into next year’s midterm election, particularly targeting those GOP lawmakers who supported his second impeachment.
Meanwhile, a moderate Democrat backed by Hillary Clinton won an Ohio House primary race Tuesday night in a contest that turned into a war among the center and progressive wings of the party.
NBC News has called the race.
Brown also had the support of Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, the Democratic kingmaker whose endorsement gave Biden a victory in South Carolina’s presidential primary, thus saving his White House bid.
She will face Republican Laverne Gore in the November election. The Democrat is favored to win.
The primary battle in Ohio’s 11th Congressional district became nasty as Democrats battled over who would replace Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who Biden named as his housing secretary.
Shontel Brown, backed by Hillary Clinton and Rep. Jim Clyburn, beat a progressive favorite to win a crowded Democratic primary in an Ohio House race
Democrats were at war in the primary in the 11th Congressional district – Bernie Sanders endorsed Nina Turner, a progressive favorite
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also endorsed Turner and campaigned for her in Cleveland last month
Brown and Turner emerged as the leading contenders among 13 Democrats running 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 Cuyahoga County Council, has touted her support for Biden and his agenda.
Turner is a former state senator and a leading Sanders supporter. She already has a national profile among progressives, who see her as a needed force in Washington D.C. to counter Biden’s more moderate tendencies.
Sanders, campaigning for her on Saturday, said: ‘I would have come (to the district) because Nina is a close personal friend of mine and somebody I admire. But the real reason I am here is that we desperately need her in the U.S. Congress.’
The Democratic contest got nasty.
Turner ran a commercial questions Brown’s ethics and ends with the image of a jail door slamming.
She also criticized Brown for accepting a campaign contribution from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a close ally of Donald Trump’s.
Brown touted Turner as too much of an outsider and too critical of Biden to accomplish anything in Congress.
Outside money played a big factor in the race. Democratic Majority for Israel, a super PAC, spent $1.2 million on ads supporting Brown and opposing Turner.
Special elections usually see small turnout compared to midterm or presidential years. A candidate’s name – or the prominence of their endorsers – can be a heavy factor in determining the outcome.