5/3 Primary Roundup


After months of anxious waiting, the Republican Senate primary is finally over. Trump-endorsed venture capitalist J.D. Vance finished first with 32.2% of the vote, performing well in rural Ohio and the post-industrial working class Mahoning Valley. Josh Mandel came in second with 23.9%, and was generally the second choice of much of the Vance coalition. The last major candidate was Matt Dolan, the anti-Trump Republican who garnered visible momentum in the final weeks of the race. He did best in Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus) counties, taking 23.3% of the vote.

Vance faces Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan in this fall’s general election. Much of Ohio has been trending toward the GOP as of late, but we do not yet feel comfortable moving this contest off the board. Likely Republican


Unsurprisingly, Ohio’s Republican primary for governor aligned with expectations. Incumbent Governor Mike DeWine snatched renomination with a plurality. Challengers Jim Renacci and Joe Blystone each won over 20% of the vote, but neither got anywhere close to the Governor.

OH Republican governor’s primary election map comparing DeWine’s vote share to those of his challengers combined.

Across the aisle, the Democrats resoundingly nominated Dayton’s Nan Whaley to face Governor DeWine in November. Whaley solidly won most of the state, with the exception of the Toledo region and parts of southwestern Ohio. High-profile endorsements, especially one from Senator Sherrod Brown, helped Whaley distinguish herself as the party’s favorite for the race, allowing her to win nomination by a margin greater than 30%.

The DeWine-Whaley contest in November is not likely to be anywhere near competitive, with DeWine being a relatively non-polarizing figure running amid a Republican-favoring electoral environment this November. Split Ticket rates this race as Safe Republican.



In northwestern 1st district, frontrunner Jennifer-Ruth Green won the primary with 47% of the vote. She defeated former LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo and perennial candidate Mark Leyva, who took 22.5% and 13.4% respectively.

Milo carried the LaPorte County portion 50-33, but that part of the seat accounts for just 11% of its total population. Ruth Green, from Crown Point, dominated Lake and Porter counties. The matchup against Congressman Frank Mrvan in the Republican-trending 1st is currently Leans Democratic.

The 6th district was not on Split Ticket’s radar, but a brief mention is worthwhile. Congressman Greg Pence, the only member of Republican in Indiana’s delegation to face a primary challenge, secured renomination with 77.6% of the vote. Pence’s opponent James Alspach ran to his right.

In the southeastern 9th district, Washington County state Senator Erin Houchin took the GOP nomination with 37% of the vote. Her closest competitors were former Congressman Mike Sodrel and outsider Stu Barnes-Israel, who won 25.8% and 21% respectively.

Houchin’s appeal was broad enough for her to run well across the district, including in Hollingsworth-won Monroe County (Bloomington). Barnes-Israel won his native Decatur County and outran his district-wide totals in the east near Dearborn, but did not draw enough support to dominate the region.

Sodrel did not win his Clark-Floyd County base by enough to make victory possible, likely a result of Houchin’s increased presence in the Louisville media market. The most contrarian county was unsurprisingly Switzerland, where the ex-Congressman won by 11 points. Safe Republican


In the Cincinnati-based 1st district, long-time Republican Congressman Steve Chabot secured renomination in an uncompetitive primary. He will face councilman Greg Landsman this November.

Redistricting transformed Chabot’s district into a Biden +9 seat, but the incumbent’s ability to generate crossover support amid a Republican-leaning environment should not be discounted. Tossup

The new 7th district stretches from suburban turf in southern Cuyahoga County down through Medina and Wayne counties, but most of the voting population lives in the seat’s northern half.

Much like in 2012, this year’s redistricting cycle left Republican Bob Gibbs with lots of new territory. New boundaries, along with a Trump-endorsed challenge from ex-White House aide Max Miller, encouraged Gibbs to retire. Miller won the primary with 72% of the vote. At Trump +10, this seat should not be contested in earnest this cycle. Safe Republican

District 9 was a mixed-bag. Outsider candidate J.R. Majewski defeated legislators Theresa Gavarone and Craig Riedel with 35% of the vote. His victory was made possible by Lucas County (Toledo), but Majewski ran well throughout Gavarone’s entire Senate district.

Split Ticket was incorrect to consider Gavarone the favorite, but we consider ourselves exonerated for suggesting Majewski had a chance to finish second or win outright. Although Riedel’s regional base existed only in Defiance and Williams counties, his credible fundraising operation allowed him to do well enough district-wide to finish second.

Majewski, by far the most anti-establishment primary contender, now faces veteran Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Kaptur, first elected in 1982, has never faced a competitive race in her career. Her new district is a Republican-trending Trump +3 seat, but it is unclear if Majewski will pose any special troubles for the GOP this fall. Tossup

In the Cleveland-based 11th district, Democratic Congresswoman Shontel Brown won her primary rematch against progressive Nina Turner easily. Turner’s Summit County base may have been removed in redistricting, but Brown’s own incumbency probably played the bigger role in her renomination.

The other district in which Trump endorsed was the 13th, a marginal Biden seat straddling Summit and Stark counties. Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, the former President’s candidate, won with just 29% of the vote. Her nearest competitor was Greg Wheeler, who finished with 23%. Gesiotto Gilbert will face experienced Democrat Emilia Sykes this fall. Tossup

My name is Harrison Lavelle and I am a political analyst studying political science and international studies at the College of New Jersey. As a co-founder and partner at Split Ticket, I coordinate our House coverage. I write about a variety of electoral topics and produce political maps. Besides elections, my hobbies include music, history, language, aviation, and fitness.

Contact me at @HWLavelleMaps or harrisonwlavelle1@gmail.com

I make election maps! If you’re reading a Split Ticket article, then odds are you’ve seen one of them. I’m an engineering student at UCLA and electoral politics are a great way for me to exercise creativity away from schoolwork. I also run and love the outdoors!

You can contact me @politicsmaps on Twitter.

I’m a software engineer and a computer scientist (UC Berkeley class of 2019 BA, class of 2020 MS) who has an interest in machine learning, politics, and electoral data. I’m a partner at Split Ticket, handle our Senate races, and make many kinds of electoral models.