Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
U.S. Capitol Building

What to watch in Ohio and Illinois

Congressional primary voters head to the polls today in Ohio and Illinois. Here are the top storylines we’re tracking.

Can MAGA world push Moreno over the finish line? The Ohio Senate GOP primary is a major test of former President Donald Trump’s power in key congressional primaries. Trump has backed businessman Bernie Moreno and rallied for him alongside other MAGA world figures in Ohio this weekend. But despite locking up Trump’s vaunted endorsement, Moreno hasn’t pulled away from more establishment candidate state Sen. Matt Dolan.

A damaging story about a profile on a dating site linked to Moreno has rocked the race in the final days. The profile seemed to have someone posing as Moreno looking for a gay date. Moreno has said it was an intern playing a prank on him. Sensing an opportunity, Democratic groups are spending to boost Moreno in the hope he’s an easier opponent for Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Secretary of State Frank LaRose is running a distant third in the race.

Will Bost hold off a right-wing opponent? House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Mike Bost (R-Ill.) is fending off a primary challenge from Darren Bailey. Bost crucially secured Trump’s endorsement in the race. But Bost’s own House colleagues, such as Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Mary Miller (R-Ill.), are lining up behind Bailey.

Which Republican will emerge to face Kaptur? Ohio’s 9th District has become an obsession for Republicans trying to unseat Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). The district went for Trump in both 2016 and 2020. While last cycle’s failed GOP candidate J.R. Majewski dropped out — much to the relief of the NRCC — there’s still a bitter contest between state Rep. Derek Merrin and former state Rep. Craig Riedel.

Merrin is backed by Speaker Mike Johnson, Trump and the Congressional Leadership Fund. But Merrin only entered the race in late December after Republicans ditched Riedel for critiquing Trump. Riedel has been running attack ads accusing Merrin of being too close to disgraced Ohio pol Larry Householder.

Who will replace Bill Johnson? The primary for the June special election to fill former Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-Ohio) seat is today. Johnson left his safe red seat to become president of Youngstown State University. The winner of the GOP primary is the heavy favorite to come to D.C. to finish Johnson’s term.

The top contenders are state Sen. Michael Rulli — who’s backed by more center-right types like Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), the Republican Main Street Partnership and former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken — and state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus, who’s endorsed by right-wing Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

— Max Cohen

Presented by Walmart

When Sarah started working at Walmart, she thought she needed a degree to be a manager. Now? “I know I can do it. I believe in myself,” she says. Walmart is investing $1 billion in career-driven training and development to help prepare associates like Sarah for their careers. Learn more.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.