COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A pair of special congressional primaries Tuesday in Ohio could serve as litmus tests for the moods of the Republican and Democratic parties heading into next year’s mid-term elections.
After the stinging defeat of one of his endorsed congressional candidates in Texas last week, former President Donald Trump’s sway as a kingmaker among Republicans is being tested in central Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.
He has endorsed coal lobbyist Mike Carey from among a formidable field of 11 GOP primary contenders for the seat vacated by Republican Steve Stivers in May, while Stivers has backed one of three sitting lawmakers in the race — state Rep. Jeff LaRe — for the job.
The GOP field also includes state Sens. Stephanie Kunze and Bob Peterson, who each have garnered some key endorsements. Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof put his support behind Peterson on Monday.
On the Democratic side, state Rep. Allison Russo, a health policy expert, faces Greg Betts, a former Army officer and decorated combat veteran, for the nomination.
In the Cleveland area, progressives and Democratic centrists are in fierce competition for the 11th Congressional District seat formerly held by Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Democrat appointed as President Joe Biden’s housing chief in March.
Former state Sen. Nina Turner, a leading national voice for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns, is the best known among 13 Democrats running in the primary and the choice of Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others.
Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, a centrist backed by Hillary Clinton, influential House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, several leading unions and over 100 local leaders, enjoyed a surge in national support in July.
Laverne Gore, a business owner, consultant, trainer and community activist, faces Felicia Ross, a self-described “Jane of all trades,” in the Republican primary.
Winners of the August primaries will face off in the Nov. 2 general election.