*** Election Night Livewire *** Ohio, Indiana Primaries Set Tone for Future of GOP, Test Trump Endorsement Strength
Voters in Indiana and Ohio will decide who will represent them in November’s general elections in the primaries in both states on Tuesday, setting the tone in particular for the future of the Republican party and testing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement strength in a big way.
Trump has 22 endorsements on the line across both states on Tuesday, some in competitive races and others in not-so-competitive primaries. The biggest banner race of the night is the five-way GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio, where Trump has endorsed author J.D. Vance–a hardcore nationalist populist–against four other candidates, three of whom sought Trump’s backing and one of whom did not. Those other candidates–Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, and Matt Dolan–all represent different views on the future of the GOP than Trump in varying degrees, but Dolan in particular represents a major departure from Trump’s view for the party. That’s why it was particularly interesting on Tuesday morning to see Dolan’s wife and some top national leftists like Daily Kos urging Ohio Democrats to pull GOP ballots and vote for Dolan in the primary on Tuesday.
Success for Vance would spell good news for Trump-endorsed candidates in other upcoming primaries, such as those in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and elsewhere, where some have struggled and some have prospered. That’s because Vance shot to the front of the pack in the final weeks of the race in polling after Trump backed him, despite an all-out effort against him from some in the donor class and establishment. Whoever wins the GOP nomination for Senate in Ohio will likely face Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) in the general election, a tougher-than-it-looks race given Ryan’s push to portray himself as tough on China.
Ohio’s Senate primary is hardly the only big race of the night. Several competitive congressional primaries in both Ohio and Indiana will also test Trump’s endorsement and offer insight into how the GOP’s future will look. What’s more, Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine aims to fend off two primary challengers–former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Joe Blystone–something polling indicates he is likely to do. Seeing whether the polls are right and DeWine can seal the deal will also say a lot about the party– in different respects than Trump’s endorsement will, but also in an interesting way.
These elections are the first, too, since the unprecedented leak of a draft decision from the U.S. Supreme Court indicating that Justices are likely to overturn Roe v. Wade later this year, so how that affects things electorally may or may not be apparent in certain results on Tuesday evening.
Follow along here for live updates as the results pour in from across Indiana and Ohio after the polls close at 6 p.m. local time in Indiana and at 7:30 p.m. local time in Ohio. Ohio is in eastern time entirely, and Indiana is mostly in eastern time–though some of it is in central time–so results should come in shortly thereafter.
UPDATE 8:38 p.m. ET
Again, it’s still early, but Mandel’s team are not acting like winners this evening. His top strategist, Jeff Roe–who managed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’s 2016 presidential campaign–reportedly called Trump tonight to congratulate him on what would be a strong performance from Vance:
2024 notebook: Trump and veteran GOP strategist Jeff Roe spoke by phone tonight, two people familiar with the call tell @CBSNews.
Roe called Trump as the Ohio returns come in. “Vance was dead without you,” he told Trump.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) May 4, 2022
UPDATE 8:36 p.m. ET
With 19 percent reporting, Vance’s lead over the field has widened. His more than 4 percent lead–with 27.5 percent–is much stronger than second and third place Mandel and Dolan. It is noteworthy though that Mandel has climbed back to second place, for now, with 23.3 percent and Dolan is down at 22.3 percent.
UPDATE 8:25 p.m. ET
The victory from Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN) also means Trump’s record in Indiana is perfect, as all of his endorsements in the state won. Several of his Ohio endorsements have already won as well, and the rest are currently leading their races.
UPDATE 8:24 p.m. ET
With Trump’s support, Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN) has also easily fended off a primary challenge according to the AP:
BREAKING: Greg Pence wins Republican nomination for U.S. House in Indiana’s 6th Congressional District. #APRaceCall at 8:08 p.m. EDT. https://t.co/2nlgpji7ac
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 4, 2022
That means Trump is at least 11 out of 22 already on this busy first major primary night in May.
UPDATE 8:23 p.m. ET
GOP Gov. Mike DeWine in Ohio has easily fended off two primary challengers and won his race to again be the nominee for governor this November, according to the Associated Press:
BREAKING: Mike DeWine wins Republican nomination for governor in Ohio primary election. #APRaceCall at 8:16 p.m. EDT. https://t.co/2nlgpji7ac
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 4, 2022
UPDATE 8:12 p.m. ET
With 14 percent reporting, Vance holds a 2-point lead at 25.5 percent to Dolan’s 23.5 percent with Mandel at 22.3 percent. Privately, Vance allies are confident in the early returns.
UPDATE 8:04 p.m. ET
With 11 percent reporting in Ohio’s GOP Senate primary, Vance’s 26 percent still leads Dolan’s 23.1 percent and Mandel’s 21.8 percent. This seems to be the race–between these three–and Vance has a slight edge.
UPDATE 8:02 p.m. ET
At least 10 of Trump’s 22 endorsements have already won their races, according to New York Times race calls in Ohio and Indiana. All of the rest are very much in play and could be headed for victories. If they all win, Trump will be 55-0 this year so far dating back to Texas primaries in early March–a remarkable feat.
UPDATE 7:58 p.m. ET
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) has won the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate in Ohio, per the Associated Press:
BREAKING: Tim Ryan wins Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Ohio primary election. #APRaceCall at 7:56 p.m. EDT. https://t.co/2nlgpji7ac
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 3, 2022
UPDATE 7:53 p.m. ET
Vance’s lead has, with 6 percent reporting, widened to nearly 5 full percent. Vance, at 27 percent, leads Dolan’s 22.6 percent, while Mandel is down at 21.7 percent. While it is very, very early, if this trend and margin holds, it would seem to mirror the final results of a late-breaking Trafalgar Group poll just before the election the other night:
Final Independent #OHSen ‘22 #GOP primary @trafalgar_group #poll shows #Vance lead w/tight race for 2nd #OHpol
— Robert C. Cahaly (@RobertCahaly) May 2, 2022
UPDATE 7:48 p.m. ET
With 4 percent reporting in Ohio’s GOP Senate primary, Vance is now in the lead with 26.5 percent to Dolan’s 24.2 percent. Mandel is stuck in third place.
UPDATE 7:47 p.m. ET
Trump’s endorsements on the line in Ohio include Vance for Senate, Frank LaRose for Secretary of State, Dave Yost for Attorney General, Robert Sprague for Auditor, and Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Bob Latta (R-OH), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Mike Turner (R-OH), Troy Balderson (R-OH), and Mike Carey (R-OH). He is also backing Max Miller in Ohio’s seventh district and Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in Ohio’s 13th district.
UPDATE 7:45 p.m. ET
It’s early but Gov. DeWine has a huge lead in the GOP primary for governor. With 2 percent reporting, he’s over 60 percent and his next closest challenger is 40 percent or so lower than him.
UPDATE 7:42 p.m. ET
With 2 percent reporting according to the New York Times, the Never Trump Dolan has taken a slight lead in the Ohio Senate primary. Vance is about a percent behind him.
UPDATE 7:30 p.m. ET
The polls have closed now in Ohio, and everyone is awaiting first results to start coming in in the all-important Buckeye State primaries.
UPDATE: 7:25 p.m. ET
With 18 percent reporting in Indiana’s 6th congressional district according to the New York Times, the Trump-backed incumbent Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN) has opened a huge more than 50 percent lead over his primary challenger.
UPDATE 7:09 p.m. ET
In Indiana’s ninth district GOP primary, Erin Houchin–a former state senator backed by House GOP conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik–has now taken a lead, according to the New York Times:
Thank you for your trust and support @EliseStefanik. I’m honored to have the support of #EPAC, and look forward to serving with you in Congress! https://t.co/eI6euDWMLu
— Erin Houchin (@Erin_Houchin) April 1, 2022
Houchin has focused on her record of fighting the left in campaign ads:
Our first TV ad is here! Please retweet to share our message of Proven Conservative Leadership for Southern Indiana!https://t.co/XZwgSg1c9A
— Erin Houchin (@Erin_Houchin) April 4, 2022
UPDATE 7:02 p.m. ET
Polls in all of Indiana are now closed. Polls in Ohio are open for another half an hour, and betting markets, polling, and internet search traffic indicate J.D. Vance is the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination there:
Vance is a Strong favorite to win OH Senate GOP Primary Race
Betting Markets: Predictit
J.D. Vance 73c (+4)
Matt Dolan 19c (-4)
Josh Mandel 12c (-2)
Polymarket: Vance Is 73% betting favorite
Google Search Trends: May 3
Last 5 Polls: Vance +5.8%
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) May 3, 2022
UPDATE 6:52 p.m. ET
Some results are starting to come in in Indiana’s ninth congressional district GOP primary, where combat Army veteran Stu Barnes-Israel leads in the early results. Barnes-Israel, who previously appeared on Breitbart News Saturday earlier in the cycle, is one of many conservative veterans running for office this cycle.
UPDATE 6:24 p.m. ET
The first results are starting to trickle in from Indiana’s eastern counties and the Trump-endorsed Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN)–the brother of former Vice President Mike Pence–is leading a primary challenger. Trump’s endorsement of Greg Pence is significant given his very public falling out with his former Vice President, the congressman’s brother, but again a test of Trump’s strength.
Others Trump has endorsed in Indiana include Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Jim Banks (R-IN), Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Jim Baird (R-IN), and Larry Buchson (R-IN)–all of whom are running unopposed and will win their primaries unchallenged.
UPDATE 6:07 p.m. ET
Polls have closed in most of Indiana now, and we should start expecting results soon:
It’s 6pm eastern and polls are now closed in most counties in Indiana.
Several western counties in the state close in one hour at 6pm central time.
Results for tonight’s races can be found here:https://t.co/MOUZI5gypR
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) May 3, 2022
The polls in the rest of the state will close at 7 p.m. ET.