Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
A pair of Middle-America states have kicked off voting for the 2022 election cycle, as Ohio and Indiana voters will take to the ballot box today and whittle the field of contenders in key races with national implications.
Perhaps the most interesting race will be that for the Republican Senate nomination in Ohio, where former President Donald Trump has endorsed political outsider J.D. Vance over former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel.
Mandel has closely followed the talking points of Trump in his campaign, enjoys endorsements from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and is an avid supporter of Pro-Life.
Mandel commemorated the start of primary day by tweeting, “All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For the first time since Roe v Wade in 1973, that fundamental right, the right to LIFE, will be protected.”
All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
For the first time since Roe v Wade in 1973, that fundamental right, the right to LIFE, will be protected. 🙏🇺🇸
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) May 3, 2022
Mandel has asserted all along that his a “Trump America-first” candidate.
However, the official Trump endorsement – which carries not only the former president’s support but that of Donald Trump Jr. as well as strong Trump allies like Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida – went to Vance.
Gaetz and Greene were in Ohio Monday to make a late push for Vance, while Trump Jr. retweeted a video of a Vance rally with the comment, “This is exactly why my father and I are both supporting @JDVance1 for Senate in Ohio. The entire MAGA movement in Ohio needs to unite behind JD to defeat the corrupt RINO establishment!!!”
This is exactly why my father and I are both supporting @JDVance1 for Senate in Ohio.
The entire MAGA movement in Ohio needs to unite behind JD to defeat the corrupt RINO establishment!!! https://t.co/ACvKSheEnU
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 3, 2022
The elder Trump, who held a rally in Nebraska, seemed to meld his candidates as he mentioned that he had endorsed “JD Mandel.”
“We’ve endorsed JP? Right? JD Mandel and he’s doing great,” Trump said.
Given that both candidates seem fairly dialed into the former president’s vision for America, it could be that Trump was making a joke, reveling over just how important adherence to the MAGA movement has become for Republican office-seekers, or, as was first suggested by Newsmax anchor John Bachman, “hedging his bets” as the race between Vance and Mandel is expected to be quite close.
INDIANA’S 1st CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
In Indiana, things are not yet heated as the real focus is on the general election for the state’s 1st Congressional District.
Incumbent Frank Mrvan, a Democrat, currently sits in what experts consider one of the more vulnerable positions in Congress, but has faced no challenge from his party. Rather, Primary Day will reveal which Republican will seek to unseat Mrvan from a traditionally blue district.
The last time a Republican held the seat was Harry E. Rowbottom in 1931.
Two military veterans stand as the most likely challengers to Mrvan: Blair Milo, formerly of the Navy, and Jennifer-Ruth Green, the former mayor of LaPorte who also served in the Air Force.
If elected, Green would become just the second black person and first black Republican to serve as the 1st Congressional District’s representative.
Green, who enjoys several key endorsements – among them former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Jim Banks, who represents Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District – has also been on a whirlwind tour of Indiana churches.
“Very grateful for churches throughout the region organizing meet and greets, Green tweeted Monday. “Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with highly motivated Hoosiers at Fellowship Baptist Church in Westville, IN. Hoosiers throughout the region are fed up and ready to #FlipTheHouse! #IN01”
Very grateful for churches throughout the region organizing meet and greets. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with highly motivated Hoosiers at Fellowship Baptist Church in Westville, IN. Hoosiers throughout the region are fed up and ready to #FlipTheHouse! #IN01 pic.twitter.com/b79HssKgA9
— Jennifer-Ruth Green (@JenRuthGreen) May 2, 2022
Milo has attempted to run a centrist campaign, which might serve her well if she makes it to the general, but has not necessarily galvanized the farther right elements of her party.
“I think one of the most egregious political missteps involve political exaggerations,” Milo posted on Facebook Monday. “I pledge to you I will never stretch the truth to win a vote or avoid owning my positions. I will never use intimidation to try to get the advantage. We will not always agree, but you have the right to your opinion, and I will listen to what you have to say. I will always treat people with respect and I hope to be treated in the same manner.”
The Ohio governorship is also a race to watch as incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican who gained substantial praise from the national media for his handling of the earliest days of COVID, faces a trio of challengers.
DeWine’s COVID plan was so popular with health experts, officials, and journalists that the Washington Post called it “a national guide to the crisis.”
Back in 2020, DeWine declared a state of emergency with just three confirmed cases of COVID in his state, then locked down Ohio’s schools and businesses. This move delighted Ohioans in the short term, he enjoyed an 85% approval rating but earned DeWine the “Republican in Name Only” (RINO) label from critics.
This race will be as much a gauge of how much farther right the typically moderate Ohio has traveled.
DeWine’s popularity and fundraising have remained solid, and he is considered the frontrunner, but former U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, former state Rep. Ron Hood, and businessman/farmer Joe Blystone have all entered the race in an attempt to oust the incumbent.
Blystone has run a campaign based on the race being one between freedom and tyranny.
“Actions not words! What were my opponents doing the last two years?” Blystone tweeted in late April. “Were they fighting shoulder to shoulder with the people? NOPE! Action, not empty promises! May 3rd you will decide tyranny or FREEDOM!”
DeWine’s COVID record isn’t as damaging as one might think. He showed flexibility and drew as much criticism as praise from the left when he began to roll back COVID restrictions about six months into the pandemic.
Renacci has focused more on DeWine’s reluctance to push for abortion prohibition in Ohio.
“DeWine hasn’t committed to ending abortion in Ohio if Roe vs Wade is overturned,” the Renacci campaign tweeted Tuesday morning. “Jim Renacci has. @JimRenacci is 100% pro-life and will NEVER stop fighting for the unborn.”
DeWine hasn't committed to ending abortion in Ohio if Roe vs Wade is overturned.
— Team Renacci (@TeamRenacci) May 3, 2022
Similarly, Hood has campaigned on being pro-life.
DeWine has also refused to debate his Republican opponents, which led to an altercation, the nature of which remains the source of speculation, between himself and Blystone at the 2022 Ohio Beef Expo.
Blystone accuses DeWine of having made a threat, but the governor has not addressed the content of their exchange.
Also on the docket in Ohio today are primaries for the state’s 1st, 7th, 9th, and 13th congressional districts.