Trump’s Endorsement In Ohio

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On May 3, another round of primary races for the 2022 midterm elections will take place in Ohio, setting up a hotly contested race in November and offering plenty of opportunities on the political betting markets.

Before November, the eventual candidates must make it through their primaries for the open seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). On the Republican side, victory could come down to a last-minute endorsement from a potential kingmaker – former President Donald Trump.

Trump, so far, has withheld his endorsement for a candidate in a state that he carried by eight points in 2020.

Should he give any indication of where his support lies in the next two weeks, even if it’s not a formal endorsement, it could push a candidate over the finish line.

Absent a formal nod in the 2022 midterm primary, candidates are appealing to voters based on their Trump bona fides.

As one of the first in the nation, Ohio’s primaries will be seen as a bellwether of Trump’s message regardless of if he makes a formal endorsement or not.

Currently, all the leading candidates are polling under 30%, with a large segment of voters still undecided.

Five Republican Candidates

Five Republicans are running in the primary: businessman Mike Gibbons, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, author and businessman JD Vance, former state GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken and state Sen. Matt Dolan.

Timken, who was hand-picked for her former position in the GOP State Party, is using that as proof of a de facto endorsement.

She has also hired two of Trump’s top political allies for key positions in her campaign. It’s curious that the former president – who has made more than 100 endorsements since leaving office – hasn’t thrown his weight behind a candidate in such a high-profile primary.

Final Stretch

Going into the final stretch, Mandel and Gibbons are leading the pack in most polls, but on the political betting site PredictIt, Vance made his way to the head of the pack this week with 45¢, surpassing Gibbons with 40¢ and Mandel with 18¢ (as of 12:00 p.m. EDT Wednesday).

Dolan is the only candidate who isn’t embracing the Trump brand and isn’t expected to win. He’s trading at just 1¢ on PredictIt and has never made a showing above 9¢.

Republicans have dominated among White working-class and rural voters in Ohio as of late and shifted the state out of reach for most Democrats in statewide elections.

For a Democrat to win Ohio this year, large numbers of independents and Republicans would need to find the GOP candidate unacceptable.

Cook Political Report rates the general election in the state as “lean Republican,” but the eventual GOP nominee must make it through the contentious primary first.

Whether this means that a Trump endorsement would make or break a candidate in the general election is still up for debate with just days to go.