The race towards the November midterm elections began on Tuesday with the primaries in Ohio and Indiana. The results of the elections served to obtain x-rays of the state of both parties and as an appetizer to estimate what we can expect later in the year.
Who were the winners of the night?
- Republican JD Vance, best known for writing the book Hillbilly Elegy, won the primary to replace retired Senator Rob Portman in the US Senate. The politician’s campaign was boosted after Trump endorsed him, and thanks to this he defeated former state treasurer Josh Mandel by about 8 points.
- Vance will face Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in the November election.
- In other races, Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose easily survived a challenge from state Rep. John Adams. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also managed to secure his nomination to run for re-election, despite failing to get Trump’s seal of approval.
- Other Trump candidates favored in his congressional campaigns included Max Miller (Ohio’s 7th district), JR Majewski (Ohio’s 9th district) and Jennifer-Ruth Green (Indiana’s 1st district).
- On the part of the Democrats, it stands out that in the Cleveland area (11th district of Ohio), representative Shontel Brown defeated former state senator Nina Turner by almost 30 points, thus giving another setback to the bases and progressive candidates within the party.
What do these results mean (especially for the GOP)?
- Beyond Vance’s victory, Trump’s influence was relevant in the campaigns carried out by many of the other candidates, which cements his control within the GOP more than a year after leaving the White House. The candidates who had his endorsement had in common that they used his rhetoric regarding immigration, the media and the legitimacy of the 2020 elections.
- Tuesday’s primaries also follow months of infighting and competition among Republicans, mostly for Trump’s endorsement. And Democrats are already taking advantage of those divisions. The Senate Democratic majority PAC highlights what he called the “nasty and divisive Republican primary” in a statement.
- There was an indication that Republican enthusiasm increased (as evidenced by the increase in participation compared to the 2018 primaries), while that of the Democrats decreased. This is an early warning for President Joe Biden and his party in the first half of the president’s term, when parties out of power historically do well.
And what happened in Indiana?
According to AP, the legislative races in the state showed the power of the incumbent candidates, even amid growing anger from conservatives.
- Activists angered by the state’s coronavirus restrictions organized about two dozen so-called freedom candidates to take on lawmakers in the Republican primary, saying they were too supportive of GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb’s public health measures.
- But the challengers repeatedly fell short when facing incumbent lawmakers. In at least 10 contests, candidates from the most conservative groups failed to win the November nomination.