Trump won the GOP primaries yesterday
OK, President Trump wasn't on the ballot yesterday anywhere, but the GOP primary contests in Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia produced the results most conducive to the GOP picking up Senate seats in those states.
The greatest amount of attention went to West Virginia, where former coal mine owner and ex-con (for "conspiring to violate mine safety laws" – a questionable conviction), was believed to be a sure loser to incumbent Senator Joe Manchin in the November election. The polls trumpeted a surge for Blankenship, and even Don Surber, my guru for all things West Virginia, expected Blankenship to win. Instead, he came in a distant third.
It seems that West Virginians listened to President Trump's plea to not elect a sure loser.
So much for the theory that Trump has no coattails. Patrick Morrisey, the state's A.G., can expect a lot of support from Trump in the coming months, which could help him take away a Democrat Senate seat.
The winner in the Indiana GOP primary must pick up the pieces from a bitter three-way primary campaign that featured negative advertising. The convincing winner was former state rep. Mike Braun.
Braun spent millions on ads arguing he's an outsider, but his primary rivals attacked him over voting records indicating he voted in Democratic primaries until 2012.
Braun has responded by saying he is a conservative Republican, but he voted in past Democratic primaries to have a say in local races dominated by Democrats. His rivals have asked who [sic] he voted for in the 2008 Democratic primary race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but Braun claims he voted for neither.
Braun was elected to the Indiana State House as a Republican in 2014.
Given that the Trump coalition includes many former Democrat voters, I am not convinced that the negative ads directed at Braun for being a former Democrat are a serious obstacle in the general election.
Meanwhile, in the most populous of the three states, Ohio, the winner was Congressman James Renacci, who has represented the 16th Congressional District since 2010.
His district includes suburban and exurban Cleveland and Akron areas as well some pure rural area. This is a reasonable cross-section of the Ohio electorate. For reasons that are incomprehensible to me, Democrat incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown polls as fairly popular in Ohio, despite his hard left positions on many issues.
The auguries, so far, are as favorable as they could be the morning after the three primaries.