By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor
Nonvoting is a fruitless temper tantrum.
– Bruce Wright
Last week’s Ohio primary is in the books and, despite a meager turnout, the people have spoken.
For the Republicans, each election continues to be a referendum on former President Donald Trump. Yet, more Republicans voted than Democrats, who appear to be demoralized and lacking the fire to compete.
Meanwhile, a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade suggests the potential future reversal of long-established rights. If Roe falls, access to birth control could be limited, while marriage rights for gay or interracial couples could be threatened.
It remains to be seen whether the controversial leaked Supreme Court draft opinion will invigorate the lethargic Democrats for a massive showing in the general election.
Here are a few takeaways from a few select primary results.
Lucas County Commissioner: Constituencies Matter
State Representative Lisa Sobecki’s near 30 percent victory over incumbent Gary Byers proclaims loudly that constituencies matter. Sobecki’s time on the Toledo Public Schools board, as a union steward in a major union in Lucas County, and experience in the Ohio legislature provided her with a much more extensive portfolio and the ability to engage with voters on a broader scale.
Byers performed well in predominantly upper-middle-class areas like Ottawa Hills, Old Orchard, Whitehouse, and Waterville. Yet, his experience as a judge in suburban Maumee did not provide a natural constituency to connect with enough voters to overcome Sobecki’s large base.
Ohio Gubernatorial: Progressive Messaging Takes a Hit
The John Cranley/Theresa Fedor ticket crushed the Nan Whaley and Cheryl Stephens team by 35 percent in northwest Ohio, Fedor’s home district. But unfortunately, the team flopped in the rest of the state.
Although some considered Whaley the more liberal choice, Cranley’s social justice tour and other liberal agenda items perhaps, drowned out his message of economic rebound for Ohio.
Whaley’s endorsement by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a powerful mainline Democrat, helped Whaley prevail while progressives such as Cleveland’s Nina Turner lost influence. Shontel Brown, aligned with mainstream Democrats, defeated the former Bernie Sanders supporter in a Democratic primary re-match in Ohio’s 13th U.S. Congressional District . The race highlighted some of the current ideological debates inside the Democratic Party.
The good news for Democrats is that Republican incumbent Governor Mike DeWine, although the 11th most popular Governor, currently does not enjoy Trump’s support. And neither was the Republican front-runner able to get 50 percent of his Party’s primary vote.
In addition, at the last minute, a GOP megachurch pastor from Cincinnati entered the Governor’s race in the general election. Will the pastor pull enough votes from DeWine to make Whaley competitive?
Whaley, however, may be able to rejuvenate the Dems and get them excited to show up at the polls in November. The former Dayton mayor and her African American running mate provide the first woman Democratic candidate for Governor when women’s rights are under attack. It will be an uphill battle, but the Whaley/Stephens ticket is built for such a struggle, and the statewide Party is unified behind their candidacy.
U.S. Senate: Name Recognition and the Power of an Endorsement
Democrat Tim Ryan overwhelmingly defeated lesser-known Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson for the retiring Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate seat. Ryan is a former presidential candidate who has served in Congress for nearly two decades.
Donald Trump’s endorsement is directly responsible for Republican J.D. Vance’s win over a field of Republican candidates competing for who was the most pro-Trump candidate.
U.S. Congress: Republican Upset Brightens Kaptur’s Future
The Republican Party has long accused the Democrats of running on social and cultural issues. But, in the race for the U.S. Congressional 9th District, the Republicans appear to have appropriated that mantle and taken it to an extreme that the Democrats never did. You will, perhaps, never find a progressive so extreme as you’ll find in Republican J. R. Majewski.
The MAGA right-wing Majewski upset more well-known Republican Theresa Gavarone in the recently revamped 9th District. Formerly solidly Democratic, the gerrymandered district is now considered a toss-up.
The deciding factor in Majewski’s victory came about as candidates Gavarone and Riedel competed to be the most pro-Trump and criticized each other for being not Trump enough. Their questionable campaign strategy subsequently allowed a genuine MAGA candidate to win the primary without spending sizable funds on his campaign.
Majewski’s upset of Gavarone also drew significant attention in the national media. Kaptur, facing such an extreme candidate in the general election, thus, is much more likely to hold on to her seat and keep it in Democratic Party’s hands for yet another term.
So far, the people have spoken.
But they will speak again in November.
Will the primary election’s dynamics and the potential loss of abortion and other individual rights shock voters enough to participate and determine the general election’s outcomes?
It will be very interesting to see.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org