Special Primary Overview and Live Results: Ohio Congressional Districts 11 and 15

August 3, 2021

Headlining Tuesday's election calendar are special party primaries in two Ohio congressional districts. Details below. There are also party primaries for two vacant State Senate seats in Michigan and nonpartisan mayoral primaries in both Detroit and Seattle.

Michigan State Senate Special Primaries>> Detroit and Seattle Mayoral Primaries >>

 

Ohio Congressional District Special Primaries

Both these vacant seats are expected to remain with the incumbent party in the November 2 special general election. As a result, most of the drama in these races is is around picking a Democratic nominee in District 11 and a Republican nominee in District 15.   

Polls close at 7:30 PM Eastern Time. 

District 11

This Cleveland-Akron area district (nicely gerrymandered, as are many in the state) has been vacant since March 10, when Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge joined the Biden administration after being confirmed as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Fudge was in her 8th term, and most recently reelected by an 80%-20% margin. Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by a similar amount.

13 Democrats are seeking the nomination, but this election is all about a battle between two of them - and their respective wings of the party.  It may be the most expensive House race this year

Wall Street Journal: "A House special election primary in Cleveland on Tuesday is shaping up as a proxy war over the direction of the Democratic Party, with the top two candidates drawing millions in donations as prominent figures including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. James Clyburn line up on opposing sides."

NBC News: "You have to go back to Obama vs. Clinton in 2008 to think of a nastier Democratic primary than what’s playing out in Tuesday’s special primary election..."

Former State Sen. Nina Turner, a national co-chair for Bernie Sanders in his 2020 presidential campaign, supports large-scale progressive priorities like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.  Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown is running as the establishment/centrist candidate. She has the support of Hillary Clinton and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Turner was well ahead in polling earlier this spring. Recent surveys have shown a more competitive race

There are two candidates on the Republican ballot. Laverne Gore was the party's nominee in 2020.

District 15

This district includes a portion of Columbus, but is largely south and southeast of the city. It has been vacant since May 16, when Republican Rep. Steve Stivers resigned to head the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Stivers won a 6th term with a 27% margin this past November, running well ahead of Donald Trump's 14% margin here. 

There are 11 Republicans on the ballot looking to succeed Stivers. Much of the focus here will be on Trump's endorsement of former coal lobbyist Mike Carey. On the heels of last week's failed endorsement in TX-6, the former president's PAC has made a significant last-minute investment in this race. 

Unlike the TX-6 race, only Republicans will be casting votes Tuesday. That should work to Trump's advantage. On the other hand, this is a large field with several more politically prominent candidates. Another complicating factor (in terms of making predictions) is that turnout is likely to be low for a special election primary in the middle of summer. 

State Sen. Bob Peterson has been in office for nearly a decade and has a strong conservative voting record. He narrowly trailed Carey in reported fundraising. He is endorsed by the president of the Ohio Senate. State Rep. Jeff LaRe is backed by Stivers, the previous incumbent. Sen. Rand Paul is backing former State Rep. Ron Hood.  

Those aren't the only candidates with support. Ruth Edmonds is backed by conservative activist Debbie Meadows, wife of former Trump chief of staff, Mark Meadows. State Sen. Stephanie Kunze has been endorsed by the Franklin County Republican Party. 

Two Democrats are on the ballot. The more prominent is State Rep. Allison Russo. She has been endorsed by Sen. Sherrod Brown.

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