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Needle Still Points South


Needle Still Points South


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Ohio's 11th and 15th Congressional districts hold primaries today for their special elections due to take place on 2 November. Given that the 11th district leans heavily Democratic and the 15th strongly Republican, the primary elections are likely to prove more interesting for both parties than the actual special election.

  • For both the Democrats and Republicans these primaries have pitted the two main wings of each party against one another in what has become an increasingly bitter contest.
  • 11th District: Narrow favourite and former state senator Nina Turner – backed by leftist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) – is up against Cuyahoga Council Council member Shontel Brown – a moderate backed by Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. A win for Turner provides ammunition for the left of the party to argue for more radical policies from Congressional Dems and the White House, while a win for Brown would consolidate support within the party establishment.
  • 15th District: Contest seen as a test of whether former President Donald Trump retains the ability to act as a 'kingmaker' in the Republican Party. Trump has endorsed former energy lobbyist Mike Carey, a hitherto unknown figure in the party, immediately propelling him into frontrunner position. However, in a crowded field the endorsements of state representative Jeff LaRae by the district's outgoing Congressman Steve Stivers, or state senator Bob Peterson by two serving US Representatives from Ohio could also prove important. A win for Carey would add credence to the view that the GOP base remains behind the former president, while a victory for any other candidate could signal a weakening of Trump's grip on the Republican party grassroots.