Mike Carey, a coal industry lobbyist endorsed by former President Donald Trump, defeated 10 opponents in the special Republican primary for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.
The outcome reaffirms Trump’s influence just a week after another candidate Trump backed lost a Republican congressional primary in Texas’ 6th Congressional District.
Tuesday’s result “might signal that, within Ohio, Trump has a certain amount of support that can be leveraged in the governor’s race, the Senate race and other congressional races,” said Kevin Spiker, a political scientist at Ohio University.
Carey’s victory in the heavily Republican district makes him the overwhelming favorite in a special general election in November.
The vast rural district, which encompasses some of Columbus’s suburbs, opened up when then-Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) announced in April that he would be leaving Congress to head the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Carey dispatched with at least four serious candidates: state Sen. Bob Peterson (a farmer endorsed by Ohio Right to Life), state Rep. Jeff LaRe (a suburbanite backed by Stivers), state Sen. Stephanie Kunze, and ultra-right-wing former state Rep. Ron Hood, who was backed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Trump’s super PAC, Make America Great Again Action, spent over $400,000 boosting Carey. Trump also touted his endorsement of Carey at a late June rally in another part of the state.
Carey has featured the footage of Trump praising him in a TV ad. “He’s a wonderful man ― I’ve known him for a long time,” the ad showed Trump saying.
The Club for Growth, a hardline economic libertarian Republican group that has grown increasingly aligned with the Trump wing of the party in recent years, jumped into the race in a way that benefited Trump’s candidate of choice. The conservative group spent more than $300,000 attacking LaRe, Peterson and Kunze for being insufficiently conservative.
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