NEWS & Insights

Moreno in Landslide; IL, CA Results


While both President Biden and former President Trump are now virtually uncontested for their respective nominations since both achieved “presumptive nominee” status last week, Tuesday night’s five primary elections in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Ohio proved anti-climactic.

Republican turnout greatly exceeded Democratic participation in all but Illinois. Of the 26 states that have hosted presidential primaries or caucuses in the 2024 nomination cycle, Republican vote totals have wildly exceeded those from Democrats in all but four states: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington.

Of the 22 states where Republican turnout was better, President Biden carried ten of the entities in 2020. The consistent participation pattern could prove to be an important warning sign to Democratic strategists.


Chalk up a big mistake for the polling community, as the very tight Republican Senate contest that all involved pollsters predicted proved to be a landslide for businessman Bernie Moreno. The victor will now move into the long general election cycle against three-term Senator Sherrod Brown (D).

With almost the entire state reporting at this writing, Mr. Moreno would have been nominated even if Ohio were a runoff state. He captured majority support, at 50.6%. State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who several polls had projected to be leading the race, finished a distant second with 32.8%. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the field’s only statewide official who was perceived to be falling off the pace as the election drew near, lagged in third position recording just 16.6% support.

The result is another big win for former President Trump who, along with Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), had endorsed Mr. Moreno. The victory margin was so complete that Mr. Moreno carried all of the state’s 88 counties. Turnout was heavily Republican. Though he was in a three-way race in the Republican primary and Sen. Brown was unopposed for the Democratic nomination, Mr. Moreno still received more votes last night than the Democratic incumbent.

The top House primary attraction was the special primary for the vacant 6th Congressional District where state Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) and state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Delaware) battled to replace resigned Rep. Bill Johnson (R). Since this is a partisan special election, the winner advances to a June 11th general election. The result was close most of the evening, but Sen. Rulli pulled away in the final count to score a 49-41% win.

Highly competitive crowded battles are underway in the open 2nd District from which Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Hillsboro) is retiring. Three self-funding businessmen led the crowded field, and concrete company owner David Taylor defeated entrepreneurs Tim O’Hara and Larry Kidd by a 25-22-19% split. Mr. Taylor’s victory last night virtually assures him of winning the seat in November in what is Ohio’s safest Republican seat.

The other major primary occurred in the Toledo anchored 9th District where Republican state Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) and former state Rep. Craig Reidel battled for the nomination after 2022 nominee J.R. Majewski dropped out of the race. The race went Mr. Merrin’s way with a 52-34% victory margin. The state Representative now faces 21-term incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) in the general election in what should be a highly competitive election in a district the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+6.

In the Akron based 13th CD, former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin (R) easily defeated local City Councilman Chris Banweg. Mr. Coughlin will now challenge freshman Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) in another competitive Ohio general election campaign.


Last night’s CA-20 special election, held as the first step in replacing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R), unfolded as a virtual carbon copy of the original March 5th regular primary. Like in that election, it appears that Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who is well over 40% support in early returns, will advance into the special general election scheduled for May 21st. Just like in the coming November regular general election, he will face fellow Republican and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux in the special general.

The special general winner will immediately take the seat and serve the balance of the current term. Regardless of the outcome in May, Messrs. Fong and Bourdeaux will face each other again on November 5th.


While almost all of the congressional primary challengers lost in landslide proportions to the veteran incumbents, southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) looks to have only eked out a close renomination win over 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee and ex-state Senator Darren Bailey (R), but the turnout projection totals suggest that as many as 30,000 votes could still be outstanding. At this writing, with 75% of the estimated number of total votes has been counted, Rep. Bost has only a 51.8 – 48.2% advantage, a margin of 3,362 votes.

The county votes were polarized. Two small counties are not reporting any votes as yet, while Bost has won 17 counties to Bailey’s 15. In virtually every county, the vote produced lopsided leads for either man. It is probable that Rep. Bost’s advantage will hold, but the final result could become much closer.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago), who faced four challengers, managed to break the majority threshold with a 53% total. Because the opposition vote was evenly spread among his challengers, his closest competitor had just under 22%. Reps. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) and Bill Foster (D-Naperville) also faced credible opposition, but both won easily.

In the Quad Cities region, retired Circuit Judge Joe McGraw (R) will now challenge freshman Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) in what should be a competitive general election.

We offer this political insights report for your information and not as a predictor or representative of opinions of HBS or its employees.