Mike Carey wins Ohio’s 15th congressional district election

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOSU) — Mike Carey has been declared the projected winner over Allison Russo for Ohio’s 15th congressional district.

The seat in the U.S. House of Representatives became open after former representative Steve Stivers resigned from Congress in April for a position to become president of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Carey, a coal lobbyist who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, will be holding public office for the first time in his career. His opponent Allison Russo has served as a State Representative for Ohio’s 24th district since 2018.

“I just got off the phone with the President,” Carey said during his acceptance speech in Lancaster Tuesday evening. “He was very happy with the votes. And I said, ‘Mr. President, thank you for your endorsement.’ And I’ll tell you what, he was really happy tonight. So President Trump, thank you.”

The 15th congressional district has been gerrymandered to favor a Republican . It’s been held by the GOP for 54 out of the last 60 years. The district includes parts of urban and suburban Columbus and extends south into rural Appalachia Ohio.

Herb Asher, professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University, says Carey found a winning strategy in clinging close to Trump and playing up anxieties over the economy and hammering on cultural issues, particularly “law and order.”

“Defunding police, which very few Democrats even use that term, were not supportive of it. But still, that gets into when you start talking about police and police reform that also gets into issues of race,” Asher said.

Carey touched on that theme Tuesday night, also criticizing the Biden administration’s border policy as well as the economic recovery bill.

In her concession speech, Russo hinted at another run for office next year.

“There is too much at stake in Washington and right here in Ohio for us to sit idly by and on the sidelines. I was built for tough fights, and I am looking forward to the next one in 2022. So thank you all.”

In Ohio’s other special congressional election on Tuesday, Democrat Shontel Brown coasted to victory in a second up-for-grabs congressional district in the Cleveland area. The results of Tuesday’s special elections leave Democrats with a 221-213 advantage over Republicans in Congress, with Carey and Brown each retaining a seat for their respective party.