April 25th, 2024

In Ohio, Biden and Trump win primaries a week after becoming their parties’ presumptive nominees

By Patrick Orsagos, Cody Jackson, Michelle L. Price And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press on March 19, 2024.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump won their party’s presidential primaries in Ohio on Tuesday, banking more support after becoming their parties’ presumptive nominees last week.

In addition to Ohio’s contest, Trump is expected to easily win GOP primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Kansas. Biden is expected to do the same in all those states except Florida, where Democrats canceled their primary and opted to award all 224 of their delegates to Biden. That’s not an unusual move for a party with an incumbent in the White House seeking reelection.

Trump, a Florida voter, cast his ballot at a recreation center in Palm Beach on Tuesday and told reporters, “I voted for Donald Trump.”

Other races outside of the presidency could provide insight into the national political mood. Ohio’s Republican Senate primary pits Trump-backed businessman Bernie Moreno against two challengers, Ohio Secretary of State Frank Frank LaRose and Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team.

Chicago voters will decide whether to assess a one-time real estate tax to pay for new homeless services. And voters in California will move toward deciding a replacement for former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who resigned his seat after being pushed out of Republican leadership.

Trump and Biden have for weeks been focused on the general election, aiming their campaigns lately on states that could be competitive in November rather than merely those holding primaries.

Trump on Saturday rallied in Ohio, which has for several years been reliably Republican after once being a national bellwether in presidential elections. Trump won the state by about 8 percentage points in 2016 and 2020. But there are signs the state could be more competitive in 2024. Last year, Ohio voted overwhelmingly to protect abortion rights in its constitution and voted to legalize marijuana.

Biden, meanwhile, is visiting Nevada and Arizona on Tuesday, two states that were among the closest in 2020 and remain top priorities for both campaigns.

Trump and Biden are running on their records in office and casting the other as a threat to America. Trump, 77, portrays the 81-year-old Biden as mentally unfit. The president has described his Republican rival as a threat to democracy after his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results and his praise of foreign strongmen.

Those themes were evident Tuesday at some polling locations.

“President Biden, I don’t think he knows how to tie his shoes anymore,” said Trump supporter Linda Bennet, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, not far from where the former president resides at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Even as she echoed Trump’s arguments about Biden, she criticized his rhetoric and “the way he composes himself” as “not presidential at all.” But she said the former president is “a man of his word,” and she said the country, especially the economy, felt stronger to her under Trump’s leadership.

In Columbus, Ohio, Democrat Brenda Woodfolk, voted for Biden and shared the president’s framing of the choice this fall.

“It’s scary,” she said of the prospect that Trump could be in the Oval Office again. “Trump wants to be a dictator, talking about making America white again and all this kind of crap. There’s too much hate going on.”

Bennet and Woodfolk agreed that immigration in one of their top concerns, though they offered different takes on why.

“This border thing is out of control,”said Bennet, the Republican voter. “I think it’s the government’s plot or plan to bring these people in to change the whole dynamic for their benefit, so I’m pretty peeved.”

Woodfolk, the Democrat, said she doesn’t mind immigrants “sharing” opportunities in the U.S. but worried it comes at the expense of “people who’ve been here all their lives.”

Trump and Republicans have hammered Biden on the influx of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, seeking to capitalize on the issue well beyond border states. Biden has ratcheted up a counter-offensive in recent weeks after Senate Republicans killed a migration compromise they had negotiated with the White House, enough GOP senators withholding their support only after Trump said he opposed the deal. Biden has used the circumstances to argue that Trump and Republicans have no interest in solving the issue but instead want to inflame voters in an election year.

For the last year, Trump has coupled his campaign with his legal challenges, including dozens of criminal counts and civil cases in which he faces more than $500 million in fines.

His first criminal trial was scheduled to start Monday in New York on allegations he falsified business records to cover up hush money payments. But a judge delayed the trial for 30 days after the recent disclosure of new evidence that Trump’s lawyers said they needed time to review. – Jackson reported from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Price reported from New York. Barrow reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.

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