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Early turnout low as polls open Tuesday in Ohio primary

By J.D. Davidson
The Center Square 

Polls open Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. for in-person voting in an Ohio primary featuring the first step in what elections experts call one of the country's key U.S. Senate races.

Early voting turnout is low, possibly impacted by the national headliner.

RealClear Politics, in analysis published by The Center Square, called Ohio’s November Senate election between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and whoever wins Tuesday’s Republican primary one of the 10 most likely seats to flip in 2024. The trio of candidates in quest of a shot at Brown are Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Sen. Matt Dolan and businessman Bernie Moreno.

Others seats projected to flip were in West Virginia, Montana, Michigan, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennyslvania and Maryland.

The most recent Emerson College poll of 1,300 registered voters released Wednesday - and taken March 7-10 - had 32% of respondents still undecided. Dolan had 26% support, 3 percentage points ahead of Donald Trump-endorsed Moreno. LaRose, the one-time frontrunner, fell to just 16%. However, 

The poll has a +/- 2.6% margin of error.

In a matchup with incumbent Brown all three candidates lose, according to the poll.

In one-on-one hypotheticals, Brown holds leads of 37%-34% over Dolan, 39%-34% over Moreno, and 39%-33% over LaRose.

The poll showed about 8% of Trump voters plan to vote for Brown, while 2% of President Joe Biden voters plan to vote for a Republican candidate.

Trump holds a 50%-41% lead over Biden, with 9% undecided.

As in-person early voting ended Sunday, LaRose said less than 300,000 ballots had been cast statewide. 

LaRose told WCHM that numbers are low across the state, likely due to Biden and Trump locking up presidential nominations.

Aside from the Republican Senate race, Tuesday’s primary also contains many local party nominations for city and county seats and local tax issues.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m.

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