COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Voting is over in Ohio’s 15th congressional district in a special primary election Tuesday to determine who will advance to November’s general election.
Dr. Allison Russo has been projected the winner on the Democratic side of the ticket, defeating Greg Betts by a large margin. With 100 percent of the vote reported, Russo won 84.2 percent to 15.8 percent of the unofficial vote.
On the crowded Republican side, former coal executive Mike Carey fought off 10 other Republican candidates to come away with the nod. Carey was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Carey led the field with 37 percent of the unofficial vote with 100 percent reported. His nearest competitor, Jeff LaRe, had 13.3 percent.
The Franklin County Board of Elections said 13.1 percent of eligible county voters — 24,272 out of 185,332 — voted in Tuesday’s election.
Carey credited his win, in part, to his endorsement from Trump.
“I’m the only one he knows,” Carey said. “I’ve worked with the president since 2016, I’ve supported the president since 2016.”
The Republican primary saw major dollars flood in for attack ads, and Carey expects the November election to get ugly as well.
“You never knew where the arrows were coming from and so, at least on a one-on-one race, you know who the ones attacking you are,” he said.
As for the Democrats, Russo currently represents House District 24 in the General Assembly, a district that includes Upper Arlington, Hilliard, and portions of Columbus and southwestern Franklin County.
“I think this election is going to be, again, talking about the issues that matter to voters and those are things like jobs, good-paying jobs, health care close to home, and smart investments in our communities,” she said.
Despite Trump being popular in the district and across the state, Russo believes a Democrat can take the seat.
“The district was won by Sherrod Brown, it was won by Justice Brunner, so we’re going to get out and make sure that we are listening to voters,” Russo said.
Carey released the following statement Tuesday:
“Tonight, Republicans across Ohio’s 15th Congressional District sent a clear message to the nation that President Donald J. Trump is, without a doubt, the leader of our party. I could not be more grateful for his support, and I am proud to deliver this win to advance his America First agenda.
To the Republican voters of this district – thank you. I am truly humbled that you have entrusted me with this responsibility and I promise to be the fighter that you deserve in Congress. And to the rest of the voters across the district, I look forward to meeting you and earning your support over the next few months.
I’d like to thank my opponents for running commendable races, and I invite them to join us as we set our sights on November. Ohio can lead the charge to take back the House from Nancy Pelosi and the radical Democrats, but only if we come together and win on November 2.
Finally, I would like to thank all of our supporters, volunteers and donors for helping us earn this victory; my staff for their dedication to this campaign; and most importantly my incredible family for always standing by my side.”Mike Carey
Russo released the following statement:
I want to say thank you to the thousands of voters across the district who made their voices heard in the primary election. I am honored to have their support and now be the Democratic nominee in this critical special election. I got into this race in May because working Ohioans deserve an independent voice fighting for them in Congress. I am deeply grateful to all the voters who are putting their trust in me to fight for them in Washington.Allison Russo
I congratulate my primary competitor Greg Betts on running a thoughtful, issue-driven campaign. He served our country in uniform for more than three decades and now is putting those skills he honed over so many years in our armed services to good use in stepping up to run for office. He inspired folks across OH-15 to get involved in our shared mission of bringing new leadership to Washington, and we will need his help and the help of his supporters in this fight.
For far too long, working Ohioans in this district have not had someone in Congress who is willing to stand up to the special-interest politicians and lobbyists who run Washington. That needs to change. I am the daughter of a single mom who grew up in a working-class town, a healthcare professional who’s spent my career helping veterans, the spouse of a combat veteran and former law enforcement officer, the mother of three amazing children, and a fighter for my constituents at the Statehouse.
I’ve won really tough districts before because I took the time to listen to Ohioans about what’s important to them, campaigned on issues that would help working families, and advocated for good ideas no matter which party they came from. I know we can do the same again here in OH-15 because other Democrats have before: both Senator Sherrod Brown and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner carried this district.
I look forward to continuing to listen to voters across the district, and making the case to voters that Ohioans deserve independent leadership representing them in Congress. I work for Ohioans — not for a political party and not for special interests. I hope to earn voters’ support in November and be a fighter for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District in Washington.
The board of elections will begin canvassing the ballots no later than Aug. 18 and must certify the vote by Aug. 24.
Pending the final vote certification, Russo and Carey will now square off on Nov. 2 to decide who will fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Steve Stivers, who resigned earlier this year.
Stivers endorsed LaRe in the primary but said he will support Carey in the general election.
The district includes portions of Downtown and western Columbus, Hilliard, Grove City, Upper Arlington, Wilmington, London, Grandview Heights, and Plain City.