National eyes are on the Republican primary Tuesday for the seat of former Rep. Steve Stivers, R.-Ohio.
A week after the candidate he supported in the Texas-6 special election lost in an upset, Donald Trump has weighed in strongly for Ohio Coal Association Chairman Mike Carey in the Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th District (Columbus).
His political action committee last week made a whopping $348,000 TV time buy.
But Stivers, who resigned his House seat to become head of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, has strongly endorsed friend and State Sen. Jeff LeRe.
In giving his blessings to LeRe, Stivers cited the legislator’s conservatism and his “law and order” background as a former deputy county sheriff.
In an 11-candidate field that includes Carey and three of LeRe’s fellow state legislators, Stivers’ strong support could pack a particularly hard punch.
“LeRe will win because ‘establishment Republicans’ support him and there is a very crowded field,” said one local GOP activist who requested anonymity, adding that congressmen picked by the Columbus GOP establishment have held the district for all but 2 of the last 55 years.
The same activist added that “Trump is wearing thin here.”
The Carey camp offered a diametrically different portrait of Republican voters.
According to a late June survey conducted for Carey by Fabrizio, Lee and Associates, the coal lobbyist topped the field with 44%, followed by LeRe at 10%, former State Rep. Ron Hood 9%, State Sen. Bob Peterson 8%, and State Sen. Stephanie Kunze 5%.
All, in varying degrees, identify themselves as Trump supporters.
When likely Republican voters were informed Carey had Trump’s personal endorsement, however, his numbers jumped to 60% and the other four contenders remained in single digits.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for The Conservative Digest. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.