Hill Street Studios/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Businesman Bernie Moreno handily won Ohio’s GOP Senate primary, scoring a win for him and former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Moreno’s bid and campaigned with him in the race’s final stretch.

Trump and President Joe Biden, meanwhile, coasted in presidential primaries held in five states Tuesday, though lingering signs remained of some disgruntled voters in each party.

And several House matchups were cemented Tuesday after key primaries determined who the parties’ nominees will be.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s results:

Moreno runs away with Ohio GOP Senate nomination

Ohio’s GOP Senate primary was a nail-biter for much of the year, with the race’s final weeks devolving into an ugly barroom brawl.

Polls had shown a tight race throughout, with strategists predicting a narrow Moreno win, given his personal wealth and Trump endorsement, against state Sen. Matt Dolan, who dumped much of his own fortune into the race, outspending both Moreno and Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who just couldn’t keep up financially.

In the end, though, Moreno outperformed even the rosiest of public polls and strategists’ predictions of roughly a five-point win.

With three-fourths of the estimated vote in, Moreno hovered around 50%, with Dolan trailing at about 33%. LaRose was stuck at just over 17%.

The win underscored the power of Trump’s endorsement, which was highlighted by a Saturday rally in Dayton, and the waning influence of the GOP’s more traditional flank.

Dolan said during the campaign he supported Trump’s policies but was more circumspect on the former president himself, declining to explicitly endorse his comeback White House bid. He also earned the endorsements of popular Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and former Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, two lawmakers more aligned with the GOP establishment.

Moreno’s campaign, aided by Trump’s endorsement, was able to combat an avalanche of spending from Dolan, including attacks that he was a “phony,” as well as an unflattering article about an online account for an adult website set up with an email address linked to Moreno’s business.

The article never explicitly linked Moreno himself to the account; Moreno denied the connection, and his lawyer provided a statement from a former intern who said it was a prank. 

Dolan conceded the impact of Trump’s support on the race Tuesday, dubbing his endorsement for Moreno “a key factor for Bernie winning.”

Operatives warned against reading the race too much as a proxy war — but only because there are so few other battlegrounds left, given Trump’s dominance.

“For it to be really part of a broader proxy world would require there to be a living, breathing, moderate George W. Bush, John McCain wing of the party that still existed. While Dolan embodies that and collects that sort of disparate piece of the electorate, I don’t think it suggests there’s a proxy war because there isn’t a broader national fight between those two camps going on,” said one strategist involved in the race. “That fight has been put to bed for a couple of cycles.”

Moreno will now face Sen. Sherrod Brown, D, a three-term senator with a pre-Trump era reputation as a populist and working-class advocate.

Democrats appeared to prefer a Brown run against Moreno, running ads hamming the businessman as conservative and pro-Trump — seemingly to boost his bona fides with the conservative and pro-Trump primary electorate.

Still, Brown will face stiff headwinds running in a state that has veered to the right in recent years and handed Trump roughly eight-point wins in 2016 and 2020.

Trump and Biden coast, with room for consolidation

Both Trump and Biden coasted in their respective parties’ primaries across Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Ohio.

Trump won over three-quarters of the vote in each state, and Biden clinched at least 80% in all five, solidifying the next step on their marches to their party nominations.

Still, each candidate had room left to grow their support.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the race earlier this month while some states held early voting, earned around 15% in the Republican primaries in many states.

In Ohio, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., took 13% in the Democratic primary, and “none of the names shown” drew 10% of the vote in Kansas.

The vote shares for the others weren’t massive, but they did follow trends for each party.

Toward the end of her campaign and after she dropped out, Haley was able to garner as much as a quarter of the GOP primary vote, though exit polls have suggested many of those votes could have come from independent or even Democratic voters.

And in Michigan, over 100,000 voters backed “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary as a protest vote against Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza.

House races set up across the country

While the Ohio Senate race and presidential primaries were in the spotlight, several House primaries helped solidify the electoral landscape in November in the battle for Congress.

In the special election in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District to complete the term of former GOP Rep. Bill Johnson, who retired to become a college president, state Sen. Michael Rulli defeated state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus and Rick Tsai. Rulli and Stoltzfus ran as staunch conservatives, though Rulli received support from Defending Main Street, the super PAC arm of the more middle-ground Republican Main Street Partnership.

In Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, which is represented by Democrat Marcy Kaptur but also voted for Trump in 2020, state Rep. Derek Merrin won the GOP primary after receiving support from Republicans in Washington against former state Rep. Craig Riedel, who has been attacked over a resurfaced video of him criticizing Trump.

Illinois’ 7th Congressional District is set to send 82-year-old Rep. Danny Davis back to the House after he fended off Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin and activist Kina Collins in the Democratic primary there. Conyears-Ervin was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union and Collins has several allies in the activist community, with the race largely revolving around Davis’ age and calls for a generational change in leadership.

In the state’s 12th Congressional District, Rep. Mike Bost held a single-digit lead over Darren Bailey, a former state lawmaker and failed 2022 gubernatorial nominee. Bailey ran on hard-line views on issues like abortion and had the endorsement of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R.-Fla. Bost boasts a conservative voting record and ran with Trump’s endorsement.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.