May’s Republican primaries will test Trump’s continued pull
The district — whose lines are changing and whose current Rep. Tim Ryan is running for Senate — is one of the few in Ohio expected to be competitive in the fall.
President Biden would have lifted this newly drawn district by just three percentage points, making it a must win for Democrats as they face challenges maintaining their House majority.
“If 2022 is as bad for Democrats as most others, myself included, expect it to be, Republicans will flip this district,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, a Republican strategist from Ohio who grew up in the area.
An added wrinkle is that the district boundaries aren’t technically final: Ohio’s redistricting process has been stalled in court, and the state Supreme Court could still rule against the current maps. But most experts believe the lines will remain in place until the general election.
For Democrats, Tuesday’s primary election should be straightforward. State Representative and former Minority Leader Emilia Sykes will be the only Democrat on the ballot. The Sykes name is well known in the Akron area, where his father, Vernon Sykes, remains in the state legislature. His wife, Barbara, also served at the State House.
On the Republican side, Trump endorsed Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, a conservative commentator who worked on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns. She faces Shay Hawkins, a Republican who narrowly lost a race for the State House in 2020. He is the only candidate to have broadcast a campaign. TV commercial, but he follows Gilbert in fundraising. A third Republican to watch, Gregory Wheeler, has The Plain Dealer’s endorsement.
No candidate had much time to get noticed. They learned their district lines – tentatively – just weeks before early voting began. And with the primaries split, with the state legislative vote postponed until later this year, turnout is a big question.