- Republican Mike Carey beat Democrat Allison Russo for a seat in Ohio's 15th District.
- The Columbus-area seat was vacated by former Rep. Steve Stivers in May.
- Trump endorsed Carey, a top coal industry lobbyist in the state.
What's at stake:
Republican Mike Carey defeated Democrat Allison Russo in Tuesday's special election for Ohio's 15th Congressional District.
The Columbus-area district was vacated by former GOP Rep. Steve Stivers, who retired before the end of his term in May 2021 to take a job leading the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Carey, a top coal industry lobbyist in the state, beat out a crowded field of Republican contenders in the August 3 primary with the help of former President Donald Trump's endorsement.
Carey told the Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board that, if elected, he plans to "work with Republicans, Democrats and independents to fight the radical agenda being pushed by Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi that is bankrupting our children with runaway inflation and mountains of new debt; making our nation less safe by opening our borders and defunding police; and crippling our economy."
Russo, the Democratic nominee, is a public health advocate and Democratic state lawmaker representing parts of the Columbus suburbs in Ohio's House of Representatives. She told the Dispatch's editorial board that her main priority in office would be reaching across the aisle to achieve bipartisan solutions on issues like healthcare and education.
The safely-Republican district backed Trump over President Joe Biden by 14 percentage points - 56% to 42% - in 2020. The district includes parts of Columbus itself and much of the surrounding suburbs and exurbs, including the towns of Athens, Circleville, and Wilmington.
Carey's election is part of a growing trend in the House Republican caucus of Trump-style candidates replacing establishment-aligned Republican incumbents. Similarly, in Ohio's 16th District, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year, is retiring in 2022 after just two terms and could be replaced by former Trump staffer Max Miller.
While Stivers was a staunch conservative in office, he pushed back against Trump at times and sought to distance himself from the former president in the wake of the January 6 insurrection.
"I think it's a great time to turn the page, and it's a natural time to turn the page," Stivers told the Columbus Monthly about whether the GOP could separate from Trump. "It's going to happen in-what is it now?-12 days anyway. And so it's a very natural time to turn the page and look forward. We all should always be looking forward, not backwards."
Also on Tuesday, another special election took place a few hours north in Ohio's safely-Democratic Cleveland-based 11th Congressional District, vacated by now-HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. Democratic nominee Shontel Brown easily bested her Republican challenger and gave House Democrats a crucial vote to bolster their razor-thin majority.