There have been three rather large “special elections” for House seats in the past two weeks. And judging by all of the cater-walling and screaming going on, I’d say the the “celebrity politician vote” doesn’t count much at all this time around.
Let’s start by looking at the Texas special election. Donald Trump’s post-presidency power was put to the test as two relatively equal candidates were vying for Ron Wright’s seat. Wright died earlier this year from COVID. In that contest, Trump backed Wright’s widow, Susan, even though she was going up against Jake Elzey, a Texas state representative. The Texas 6th District is deeply red, so it is no surprise that Elzey, also a Republican, kept the seat red. What was surprising to a lot of people that the election was viewed as a referendum on Trump.
Then we go to Ohio. Trump did a little better there in the Ohio 15th Congressional District. Incumbent, Steve Stivers, who retired from the House to run for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. In that race, the Trump-endorsed candidate, Mike Carey, ended up with 37% of the vote, ahead of the pack. Ohio’s 15th is about as red a district as you’ll find anywhere in America. It encompasses the Columbus suburbs, goes to the northeast suburbs of Cincinnati, and then down to Athens in the Southeastern part of the state.
And meanwhile, up the road a piece in Cleveland, the Ohio 11th seat was up for grabs. This was Marcia Fudge’s seat that she vacated to accept a job in the Biden administration. In that race, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman, Shontel Brown defeated Nina Turner 50% to 44%. What makes that so interesting is that Turner had the backing of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the rest of the Whackjob Five.
So, what do these three races mean, and how will it change things going forward? Answering the first part, it means very little. Elzey’s win in Texas was seen as an upset, and a rejection of Trump in a way. That may mean that area southeast of Fort Worth is more conservative than Trump, who most view as a moderate. It’s no real surprise that Wright’s widow lost the seat, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider Elzey’s win an “upset”.
As far as the second part, it doesn’t change anything going forward. While you’re going to see a bunch of hacks on TV screaming that Trump doesn’t have the backing anymore, and that AOC is losing her magic touch of getting people elected, it doesn’t matter. These elections are local. Carey’s win was in the heart of Trump country in the Buckeye State. And Turner’s loss showed one thing. Turner, who was a former state lawmaker, and who chaired Bernie Sanders’ failed Ohio campaign, wasn’t as popular as Brown, who had been endorsed by James Clyburn (he of the “Biden turnaround” fame in South Carolina), and Hillary Clinton. Maybe the folks in Cleveland aren’t as left-wing wacko as they usually have appeared in the past!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!