Donald Trump was spared from further political embarrassment on Tuesday when his favorite candidate won a Republican primary election in Ohio.
Former president-backed coal lobbyist Mike Carey was on course for a comfortable victory over Ron Hood and Jeff LaRe in the state’s 15th Congressional District with more than a third of the vote in a crowded field .
“Big Republican victory for Mike Carey,” Trump said in an emailed statement. “Big numbers! Thank you to Ohio and to all of our wonderful American patriots. Congratulations to Mike and his family. He will never let you down!
The special election to replace Steve Stivers, who left Congress to work in the private sector, had been touted as the latest test of the former president’s influence as a kingmaker among Republicans.
The main field consisted of 11 candidates, some with more legislative experience and name recognition among Tories than Carey.
LaRe, a state official, had been backed by Stivers, while Bob Peterson was backed by the powerful Ohio Right to Life political wing and former Senate Speaker Larry Obhof. State Senator Stephanie Kunze had won support from the Republican Party in the district’s largest county, Franklin, and the Value In Electing Women Political Action Committee.
But none have been able to thwart Carey in what Trump and his supporters are likely to see as political validation ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik from New York, a staunch ally of Trump, said: “I was proud to join President Trump in endorsing Mike Carey, and I am delighted to congratulate Mike on his relentless victory in a difficult primary and overcrowded.
“Mike is a proven Conservative fighter who would make a tremendous ally in our fight to fight the radical socialist agenda of the House Democrats. I look forward to Mike’s victory in November and to working together to help make America more prosperous and freer.
The former president had his nose bleed last week when Susan Wright, the widow of Rep. Ron Wright, lost a Republican primary in Texas to State Rep. Jake Ellzey despite ex-representative’s approval. President. However, Democrats were able to vote in that election so Ellzey may have been spurred on by the protest votes.
Still, a second defeat Tuesday would have sparked further speculation about Trump’s declining influence on the party in general and congressional primaries in particular. In some cases, its chosen candidates have not been able to match the fundraising of their rivals.
Ohio’s 15th Congressional District includes the fast-growing southern suburb of Columbus and the state’s second-largest university, Ohio University.
On the Democratic side, State Representative Allison Russo, a health policy consultant, defeated Greg Betts, a former army officer and decorated combat veteran, for the nomination.
Russo said, “For too long, Ohio workers in this district have had no one in Congress who is prepared to stand up to the politicians and special interest lobbyists who run Washington. This must change.
The winners of the August primaries will face off in the general election on November 2. Ohio, a classic swing state, voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.