Although eyes will most closely be trained on Republican primaries in Ohio, Democrats are waging some competitive primaries of their own. National Democrats are most focused on OH-13. After progressives enjoyed a successful night on the March 1st Texas Primary to commence the 2o22 Primary Season, some hope to continue their success with a Nina Turner victory over Shontel Brown.
Ohio Democratic Governor Primary
Two mayors of cities in Southeastern Ohio, John Cranley (D-Cinncinati) and Nan Whaley (D-Dayton), are locked in a close fight for the Democratic nomination. Whaley has received much more backing than Cranley from the Ohio Democratic establishment but hasn’t built up large leads in polling or fundraising. Whaley is running slightly to Cranley’s left and has specifically attacked him for his historical views on abortion. But the reality is that the two are extremely similar candidates, and both will face long odds against Mark DeWine in November. Only if DeWine is defeated, will the Democratic nominee have even an outside chance of winning in November. Sherrod Brown, the last remnant of the slowly dying Ohio Democratic Party endorsed Whaley, likely helping push her over the finish line. Many Democrats will likely forgo voting in this primary and instead choose to back DeWine over his right-wing challengers. This should disproportionately harm Cranley.
Race Rating: Likely Whaley
Ohio Democratic Senate Primary
Tim Ryan will easily clear the field of other challengers and win the Democratic nomination for Senate in Ohio. He is primarily opposed by Morgan Harper, a progressive challenger. Ryan may be hurt by the many moderate Democrats who will choose to back DeWine over right-wing alternatives in the governor election, leaving them unable to vote in this Senate primary. But Ryan should still have no problems against Harper.
Race Rating: Solid Ryan
OH-11 Democratic Primary
Progressive incumbent Shontel Brown (D) faces an even more progressive challenger Nina Turner in a rematch of their August 2021 special election. Brown is reliably progressive, but Turner is even farther left in rhetoric. Turner chaired Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020, gaining support from the Senator as well as visible progressives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush. Brown is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and would likely vote nearly identically to Turner. The lack of functional difference between the candidates has led some National Democrats to be uncomfortable with the amount of spending put into the race by both sides. As Brown only defeated Turner by a 50%-44% margin in August, she may be in a world of trouble if enough of her supporters choose to back DeWine in the Republican Primary rather than vote in this race.
Race Rating: Lean Brown
OH-13 Democratic Primary
State Representative Emilia Sykes is heavily favored over her competitors to win the Democratic Primary in OH-13. Sykes won the all-important endorsement of Senator Sherrod Brown and is by far the best-funded among Democratic candidates. She should have no issues clearing the field on May 3rd.
Race Rating: Solid Sykes