By Jim Ellis
May 4, 2022
PrimariesOhio: Vance, Ryan Move to General — Best-selling author J.D. Vance, armed with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, won the open Ohio US Senate Republican nomination last night with a 32-24-23 percent victory over former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). Businessman Mike Gibbons, who spent almost $17 million of his own money on the race, finished fourth with 12 percent, ahead of ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken who posted only six percent support.
Polling proved to be accurate. The late race surveys were consistently showing Vance breaking into the lead, and the ballot tests were projecting he would win a close finish over Mandel and Sen. Dolan, which happened.For the Democrats, as expected, US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) was an easy winner, capturing 70 percent of the Democratic vote from a turnout that was significantly lower than the party performance in the most recent 2018 midterm election. Thus, Vance and Ryan now advance into what should be a competitive general election.
Turning to Cleveland, which hosted the most competitive Democratic congressional primary, freshman Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) easily turned back former state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President campaign national co-chair Nina Turner by a landslide 66-34 percent margin. The two ran against each other in the 2021 special election that first elected Rep. Brown.
In the Toledo-anchored 9th District, Iraq War veteran and Trump campaign activist J.R. Majewski (R) claimed the Republican nomination, defeating both state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green). Majewski now advances into the general election against the Democratic US House member who has served longer than anyone in her party. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) was first elected in 1982. This will be a highly competitive general election in a new 9th CD that carries a R+6 rating.
Former Trump White House aide Max Miller (R), armed with the former president’s endorsement, easily won the Republican nomination since incumbent Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) surprisingly decided to retire after filing for re-election. Miller now becomes the heavy favorite to capture the R+14 open seat in the general election.
Staying in the northern Ohio region, the new open 13th District that looks to be playing as an even political domain, will feature a battle between state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and TV commentator and former Miss Ohio in the USA beauty pageant, Michelle Gesiotto Gilbert, who captured the party nomination against six Republican opponents as another Trump-endorsed Ohio candidate. The Sykes-Gilbert contest begins as a toss-up general election campaign.
Indiana: Ex-Sen. Houchin Wins Open Seat GOP Nod — The Hoosier State battle in the southeastern corner of the state to succeed retiring Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) ended as many predicted. There, resigned state Sen. Erin Houchin, a former congressional aide to ex-Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), won the Republican primary last night, defeating former Congressman Mike Sodrel and Bronze Star medal winner Stu Barnes-Israel, 37-26-21 percent.
Houchin now becomes the prohibitive favorite in the open 9th District general election. She will face educator Matthew Fyfe who won the Democratic primary but raised and spent less than $50,000 for his primary campaign.
In the northwestern 1st District, US Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Jennifer-Ruth Green easily defeated former La Porte Mayor Blair Milo, 47-22 percent, to capture the Republican nomination. She advances to face freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland/Gary) who is on the ballot for a second term. The congressman was renominated in an 86 percent landslide.
Ohio: Gov. DeWine’s Unimpressive Win — Incumbent Mike DeWine successfully won re-nomination for a second term, but with only 48 percent support from within his own party. Had the anti-DeWine voters coalesced behind one candidate, it is now apparent that such an individual may have denied the governor a primary victory. Former US Congressman Jim Renacci scored 28 percent of the vote and farmer Joe Blystone posted 22 percent.
For the Democrats, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley easily defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley with 65 percent of the vote. Whaley carried all but eight of the state’s 88 counties, including nipping Cranley in his home county of Hamilton. Whether or not Mayor Whaley can force Gov. DeWine into a tight November contest remains to be seen, but she did exhibit strength within her party while the governor’s performance among Republicans was clearly disappointing.
NY-19: Rep. Delgado Chosen as Lieutenant Governor — Yesterday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) chose US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) as her new lieutenant governor. Delgado replaces her first choice, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) who was indicted for bribery and forced to resign. The selection of Rep. Delgado is an interesting one in that the appointment creates another vacancy in the US House and forces an additional special election. Currently, four Republican and one Democratic House seats are vacant for various reasons.
The Upstate 19th District may undergo significant change when the new congressional maps are court drawn later this month. The move to choose a House member is curious in that it creates further uncertainty for the Democrats now that their 22D-4R map has been disqualified as a partisan gerrymander. The current 19th District is rated R+4, while the re-drawn district on the rejected map rates D+4. Under a new draw, this seat will almost assuredly become a top Republican conversion target. Delgado was first elected to the House in 2018.