Donald Trump was spared fresh political embarrassment on Tuesday when Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist endorsed by the former president, won a primary contest for the Republican nomination to a seat in the US House of Representatives from Ohio's 15th district.
“Great Republican win for Mike Carey,” Trump said in an emailed statement. “Big numbers! Thank you to Ohio and all of our wonderful American patriots. Congratulations to Mike and his family. He will never let you down!”
With 96.5% of precincts reporting, Carey was leading his closest contender, state representative Jeff LaRe, by 37% to 13.3%, according to results from the Ohio secretary of state's office.
The primary field consisted of 11 contenders, some of whom have more legislative experience and name recognition among conservatives than Carey.
Ohio’s 15th congressional district includes the fast-growing southern suburbs of Columbus and the state’s second-biggest university, Ohio University.
"Tonight, Republicans across Ohio's 15th Congressional District sent a clear message to the nation that President Donald J. Trump is, without a doubt, the leader of our party," Carey declared in a statement after his victory.
After Steve Stivers quit Congress to work in the private sector, the special election to replace him had been billed as the latest test of Trump’s sway as a kingmaker among Republicans.
The Tuesday’s outcome came just a week after Susan Wright, a Trump-backed candidate for the US Congress, suffered a surprise loss to a fellow Republican in north Texas.
Wright, the widow of Representative Ron Wright, lost a Republican primary in the state to Representative Jake Ellzey despite the former president’s endorsement. However, Democrats were able to vote in that election so Ellzey may have been boosted by protest votes.
Meanwhile, in another primary race for a vacant US seat in the Democratic enclave of Ohio's 11th District, progressive Nina Turner conceded to local establishment Democrat Shontel Brown.
With 85.9% of precincts reporting, Brown was ahead of Turner 50.5% to 44.2%.
The seat was left vacant after former Democratic Representative Marcia Fudge's became Biden's housing secretary.
Winners of the 15th District Republican primary and the 11th District Democratic primary are also likely to win their general election races in November.