SCOTUS bombshell lands as Ohio tests Trump and Biden: The Note

There's less predictability than ever about how the biggest issues will play.

May 03, 2022, 6:02 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Political movements and party practicalities tend to collide in unpredictable ways -- all the more so with a bombshell about the Supreme Court landing on the midterm landscape just as voting heats up.

So it is that the first major primary voting of 2022 will test the style of both the current and most recent presidents inside their respective parties, at a time of less predictability than ever about how the biggest issues will play.

With polls open in Ohio and Indiana on Tuesday, voters will start to sort through the complicated paths both men present, only now with new urgency around the issue of abortion, given Politico’s reporting of what appears to be a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

On the louder and far more expensive GOP side in Ohio, former President Donald Trump could win both the battle and the war in the Senate race -- yet take neither in the race for governor. Whatever he may call him at a rally, Trump’s support for J.D. Vance vaulted him into front-running status for the seat now held by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

PHOTO: Republican Senate candidate JD Vance speaks at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, April 23, 2022.
Republican Senate candidate JD Vance speaks at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, April 23, 2022.
Joe Maiorana/AP

Even if Vance doesn’t win, the nominee could well be a Trump-aligned Republican who endorses falsehoods about the last election. Yet Gov. Mike DeWine -- a throwback to a pre-Trump GOP era -- seems likely to survive a Trump-inspired (though not endorsed) challenge to his COVID governance and establishment leanings.

As for President Joe Biden, he chose to hand out only his second primary endorsement of the cycle to Rep. Shontel Brown in her rematch against progressive powerhouse Nina Turner, a close ally of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Biden hasn’t endorsed in the Senate primary, but he probably didn’t need to. Rep. Tim Ryan has embraced the president’s wing of the party while cruising against two Black women who support canceling student loan debt and Medicare-for-all – and also expanding the number of Supreme Court justices.

New ABC News/Washington Post polling out Tuesday shows that 60% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents want the GOP to follow Trump’s leadership – about where that’s been since he left office. By contrast, only about 53% of Democrats and independents who lean that way want to follow Biden’s leadership, with younger Democrats most solidly favoring a new direction.

Primary season begins with memories of 2020 still close to the surface -- and fresh reminders that the realities of 2022 are still being shaped.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

As primary voters in Ohio cast their ballots, candidates from both parties have their eyes on the general election and are looking to take advantage of newly drawn districts.

Ohio's 13th Congressional District, which has been represented by Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan for nearly a decade, has now taken a very different shape. New boundaries give Republicans a better shot at picking up the seat.

"It's not the Democratic district that it was before," said Paul Beck, an Ohio State University political science professor.

PHOTO: Republican congressional candidate Madison Gesiotto Gilbert waves to supporters at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, April 23, 2022.
Republican congressional candidate Madison Gesiotto Gilbert waves to supporters at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, April 23, 2022.
Joe Maiorana/AP

Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, a Republican candidate and former Miss Ohio with former President Trump's endorsement, is looking to capitalize on that red shift in the crowded GOP primary and, she hopes, in the general election.

"When it comes to what's going on the past couple years people are very frustrated," she said. "And honestly, that's part of why I got into the race."

State Rep. Emilia Sykes, the lone Democrat in the race, is angling to make the most of the collective voting power in Summit County, which includes her hometown, Akron, and is one of the state's largest counties by population. Rather than being split into several different districts, the reliably blue county is now covered by just one.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Although Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose once told the Cleveland Plain Dealer it is "irresponsible when Republicans say an election was stolen and don't have evidence" in the fallout from the 2020 election, the Republican incumbent still received Trump's endorsement for his reelection campaign.

"I think President Trump is incredibly influential here in Ohio. He won by an overwhelming margin, in a secure election -- he got over 8%, that's a record-setting 3 million votes in the state of Ohio," LaRose said in an interview on ABC News Live on Monday touting the endorsement.

As Trump increasingly wades into state-level political contests, the shift in rhetoric by LaRose demonstrates an attempt to bridge the divide between sentiments of election denial expressed by many of Trump's supporters with the wishes of broad swaths of Republicans who want to see the party move on from focusing on 2020. In doing so, LaRose appears to be superimposing Trump's comments into existing voting parameters that he backs as the state's top elections official.

PHOTO: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose enters the chambers of the Ohio House of Representatives in Columbus, Ohio, April 26, 2022.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose enters the chambers of the Ohio House of Representatives in Columbus, Ohio, April 26, 2022.
Columbus Dispatch via USA Today Network

"In some states they have, I would say foolishly, decided to send absentee ballots to everybody whether they asked for one or not. We don't do that in Ohio. If you want to vote from the comfort of home, that's available to you. You have to prove your identity when you do that. And we also maintain accurate voter rolls in Ohio, so Ohio does this right. That's not just me talking, that's what President Trump said when he was interviewed a year ago," LaRose said.

The race is yet another example of formerly quiet state contests reaching national prominence. Last month, a Trump-backed, election-denying Michigan candidate for secretary of state, Kristina Karamo, was nominated by her state's Republican Party to face off with incumbent Democrat Jocelyn Benson. Meanwhile, in Georgia, incumbent GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is facing Trump-backed primary challenger Rep. Jody Hice after Raffensperger refused to help overturn Biden's 2020 victory.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

26. That's the number of full-blown election deniers running in Indiana and Ohio's Republican primaries for seats in the Senate, House and for governor Tuesaday, according to research from FiveThirtyEight and ABC News. In total, there are 79 Republicans running in these races, and by our count, 26 are full-blown election deniers; 11 have questioned the 2020 election but stopped short of saying it was illegitimate; nine have fully affirmed the legitimacy of the 2020 election and Biden's win; five have said Biden won but have still raised questions about fraud; and the remaining 28 haven't taken a public stance. Throughout the primary season, we'll be tracking Republican candidates' stances on Trump's "Big Lie" (the discredited idea that the 2020 election was stolen), and keeping track of how these candidates do in their primaries. So be sure to follow along with us as we liveblog at fivethirtyeight.com. We'll be tracking these candidates and so much more!

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins on Tuesday with Supreme Court Correspondent Kate Shaw describing a potential leaked court opinion on Roe vs. Wade. Then, ABC's Rachel Scott reports from Ohio on the Republican Senate primaries. And, ABC's Stephanie Ramos outlines a surge of apparent suicides on one Navy ship. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events