Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary


By The Associated Press



Mike Carey, second from right, was frequently involved in the 2021 Clinton County Junior Fair Livestock Sale of Champions auction in July.

Mike Carey, second from right, was frequently involved in the 2021 Clinton County Junior Fair Livestock Sale of Champions auction in July.


News Journal file photo

COLUMBUS — Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist backed by former President Donald Trump, beat a bevy of Republicans in south-central Ohio in a special primary election for an open House seat Tuesday.

Carey’s race reinforced Trump’s status as GOP kingmaker, particularly after the former president’s preferred candidate lost a special election in Texas last week.

The political newcomer Carey defeated a crowd of other Republican candidates in his race, including some with establishment backing and experience in state politics.

He’ll take on Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo, a health policy consultant who won the Democratic nomination, in the GOP-leaning 15th Congressional District this fall.

Trump quickly celebrated Carey’s win Tuesday in a statement.

“Thank you to Ohio and all of our wonderful American patriots,” he said. “Congratulations to Mike and his family. He will never let you down!”

In the counting of local votes Tuesday night, Carey was the leading vote-getter in Clinton County with 57.3 percent of the Republican ballots cast. In Clinton County, state Sen. Bob Peterson came in a distant second with 22.1 percent of the votes. Ron Hood was the only other GOP candidate to crack a double-digit percentage in Clinton County with 10.4 percent of the ballots.

In a two-person contest, Russo captured 72.6 percent of the Democratic vote in Clinton County compared to Greg Betts’ 27.4 percent.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown tweeted congratulations to Russo, pledging to “get to work to elect a champion for Ohio working families this November.”

The GOP result was a blow to former U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, a moderate Republican who retired from the seat in May and endorsed state Rep. Jeff LaRe, a security executive with law enforcement experience, in the race.

But Stivers pledged he’d support Carey this fall, and LaRe called for Republicans to “all work together to keep central Ohio red for decades to come.”

Tuesday’s results come as recent polling shows Democrats are generally upbeat about their party’s future and the job Biden is doing, while the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll reflected widespread unease among Republicans over everything from the direction of the country to the state of American democracy and Biden’s performance. Most want Trump to have at least some influence over their party’s future direction.

All of the candidates in the Columbus-area GOP primary billed themselves as conservatives, and many had more legislative-branch experience than Carey, including LaRe, state Sens. Bob Peterson and Stephanie Kunze and former state Rep. Ron Hood. In the end, they divided the vote and left Carey with about 37 percent of the vote districtwide to win.

Carey grew up around Sabina and attended East Clinton Local Schools. As an East Clinton High School student, he participated in the American Legion Buckeye Boys State program and was involved in school plays.

His campaign material touted him as the only candidate in the congressional special election endorsed by former President Trump.

Peterson is a resident of neighboring Fayette County, and presently represents Clinton County within the State Senate in Columbus.

EDITOR’ NOTE: The News Journal contributed local results to this report.

Mike Carey, second from right, was frequently involved in the 2021 Clinton County Junior Fair Livestock Sale of Champions auction in July.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/08/web1_res_mkt_goat_c_9.jpgMike Carey, second from right, was frequently involved in the 2021 Clinton County Junior Fair Livestock Sale of Champions auction in July. News Journal file photo

By The Associated Press