The first multi-state contest of the 2022 midterm election season takes place on Tuesday, as Ohio voters choose gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates while Indiana voters ponder whether their legislature should become even more conservative.
The races, particularly in Ohio, could open a new window into former President Donald Trump’s influence among party loyalists. He was particularly involved in the Ohio Senate primary, which was marred by Republican divisions, as well as campaigns for the United States House and Secretary of State.
For Democrats, a potential threat to incumbent U.S. Representative Shontel Brown in Cleveland is of keen interest. Brown is locked in a rematch against progressive challenger Nina Turner, a former state senator and presidential campaign surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Turner is trying again after losing to Brown in last year’s special election.
The vote in Ohio comes against the backdrop of a chaotic and still unresolved redistricting battle.
What to watch as the Ohio and Indiana primaries unfold:
Who will survive the Ohio Senate primary?
Seven candidates are on the ballot in Tuesday’s Republican showdown for retired Republican Rob Portman’s coveted U.S. Senate seat. They are JD Vance, author of Trump-endorsed “Hillbilly Elegy,” former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Cleveland investment banker Mike Gibbons, former Republican President of Ohio Jane Timken, State Senator Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, and entrepreneurs Mark Pukita and Neil Patel.
The campaign featured months of jockeying among top contenders for Trump’s endorsement, more than $65 million in TV and radio spending, dozens of debates and candidate forums, and a very physical showdown. mediated between two candidates.
As Vance rides high on Trump’s endorsement, other candidates who campaigned on their loyalty to the former president are hoping heavy ad spending or a strong ground game can help them win. Dolan is the only candidate to have presented himself as a Portman-style centrist, but Timken has won Portman’s endorsement.
Whoever wins will face the winner of a three-way Democratic primary between 10-term U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, former consumer protection lawyer Morgan Harper and Columbus activist and tech executive Traci Johnson.
Is a Trump endorsement a slam-dunk in Ohio?
Trump has twice won Ohio by more than 8 percentage points, so many saw his endorsement in the Senate race as key to winning the crowded Senate primary. Instead, when he finally chose Vance, it split the state.
That’s because Vance’s opponents, including Mandel, Gibbons and their allies, had run months of ads highlighting Vance’s past anti-Trump statements. Some Tea Party Republicans protested an April 23 Trump rally with Vance, and a conservative group, Ohio Value Voters, urged supporters to boycott — or boo Vance when he took the stage. The wealthy Club for Growth, a conservative group supporting Mandel, went on TV with ads directly attacking Trump for his pick.
Trump has also backed candidates in two Republican congressional primaries: Max Miller, his former White House campaign aide, in northeast Ohio’s sprawling new 7th District, and Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in Ohio’s sprawling 13th District. ‘Akron. He is also backing Secretary of State Frank LaRose in his primary against former state Rep. John Adams, a conservative Trump supporter.
Will a woman make it through the race for governor of Ohio?
Democrat Nan Whaley is seeking to be the first woman in Ohio to win a major party nomination for governor. The former Dayton mayor is locked in a close race with former Cincinnati mayor John Cranley, who is backed by feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
They agree on most major issues — guns, abortion rights, social justice — but Whaley has repeatedly pointed out that Cranley has only recently said he’s pro-choice. . She also has the support of the state’s top Democrat, US Senator Sherrod Brown.
Neither candidate is a household name in Ohio. Both have struggled to garner attention as much of the state focuses on the contentious U.S. Senate race and the ongoing redistricting fight.
The big question for Republican Governor Mike DeWine’s first term is how many conservative voters will punish him for pushing aggressive mandates and shutdowns during the pandemic.
DeWine is widely known for a 40-year career in Ohio politics and in a strong position to win the GOP nomination for another four-year term. His two main challengers have tapped into anger over the governor’s COVID-19 policies, but they are likely to divide those far-right voters.
DeWine is taking no chances, pouring millions into advertising in the weeks leading up to the primary. The concern will be whether those same Conservative voters who were furious with DeWine will come back to him in November.
Will confusion over Ohio’s main schedule affect the results?
A protracted battle over Ohio’s congressional and legislative maps has upended the state’s 2022 election calendar. For a long time, it looked like the May 3 primary wouldn’t happen amid all the legal wrangling. . Then suddenly it did.
Voter advocates, campaigns and political parties have stepped up efforts to get the word out, with early voting turnout down 40% from four years ago.
Tuesday’s polls will not list state legislative races, which are expected to be decided in a second primary later this year. The Ohio Redistricting Commission faces a deadline next week to try for the fifth time to draw district lines that do not represent a partisan gerrymander and can respond to a constitutional rally. If the panel fails, a federal court has said it will force an Aug. 2 primary using one of the previously invalidated cards.
Congressional races moved forward using a card that was also struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court. Ongoing litigation could lead to a new map before the 2024 election.
Is the Indiana Legislature Conservative Enough?
More than a dozen members of the Indiana House are trying to fend off key Republican challengers who argue the GOP-dominated legislature hasn’t been aggressive enough on issues ranging from the attempted abortion ban to the rollback of COVID-19 restrictions that were ordered by the state’s Republican Governor.
These challengers say they are tapping into the frustration of conservative voters and want to push the Legislature further to the right in a state where Republicans control all state offices and have had legislative supermajorities for the past decade.
Whether the challengers can defeat the incumbents backed by Republican leaders’ multimillion-dollar campaign fund is expected to be resolved in Tuesday’s primary.
Republican legislative leaders argue that the “no compromise” positions taken by many challengers are impractical, and tout the state’s low taxes and unemployment and extensive private school voucher program among its conservative successes.
Challengers like Brittany Carroll, a family law attorney running for a seat in central Indiana, argue that Indiana lawmakers should push aggressively on issues like banning the abortion in Texas after about six weeks of pregnancy.
“Indiana could be ahead in terms of freedom, like Florida, like Texas,” Carroll said.
Davies reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press writer John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio, contributed to this report.