There is an election today, and it might be rather a consequential one. Yep: it’s the Republican Senate Primary in Ohio, and it’s going to give us an early glimpse into Trump’s ongoing popularity with ‘the base’. Because the three leading candidate represent the three different strands within the GOP:
Firstly, there’s Trump (and family) themselves. This is represented by JD Vance, the Hillbilly Elegy author, Peter Thiel acolyte, and onetime never-Trumper. Well… he’s the thrown his lot in with Trump, and Trump has responded by endorsing him. This has been enough to send Vance to the top of the polls – and he’s on 26% on the RCP averages.
Secondly, there’s the America First, but please not Trump himself, group. (You could call this the DeSantis wing.) They are represented by Josh Mandel in Ohio, the former State Treasurer and Representative. He’s running in second place with 22.5%.
And in third place, there’s the “you know, maybe we should ditch the whole Trump thing” wing, whose flag is carried by Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan. He’s on 21.5%.
The two candidates with the Big Mo are Vance, who prior to Trump’s endorsement was polling about 10%, and Dolan, who seems to have consolidated the non-Trump vote.
A victory for Vance (which I’d reckon is a 55% chance) would really emphasise that Trump’s grip over the Republican Party (especially in the rust belt) remains undiminished. PredictIt has Vance as a 73% chance, and I think that’s too high.
The most intriguing result would be a Dolan win. Because a victory for a 2020 election accepting relative moderate would really put that cat among the pigeons regarding the 2024 primary season. Will it happen? Well, I’m not tempted by PredictIt’s 23% chance, but you never know.
As far as betting value, I think there’s one stand out: Josh Mandel (just a 13% chance on PredictIt), who is an established ground game in what seems sure to be a low turnout race. A small flutter might be in order.