what to watch for : NPR

A ballot drop box is seen at the Summit County Board of Elections in Akron, Ohio, on April 5. Voters in Ohio and Indiana will select primary nominees Tuesday for a number of races, including Senate and House.

Phil Long/AP

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Phil Long/AP

A ballot drop box is seen at the Summit County Board of Elections in Akron, Ohio, on April 5. Voters in Ohio and Indiana will select primary nominees Tuesday for a number of races, including Senate and House.

Phil Long/AP

It’s primary day in Ohio and Indiana.

Tuesday’s top race is in Ohio, where voters are set to pick nominees for a U.S. Senate seat left open by Republican Rob Portman, who is not seeking reelection. It’s a contest that has seen heavy influence from former President Donald Trump.

Congressional redistricting has also notably affected some of the state’s closely watched House races.

In Indiana, the two main parties’ Senate nominees are set, while Republicans are hoping to flip a House seat in the 1st Congressional District.

Here are seven races we’re eyeing:

1. Ohio Senate primaries

The Republican Senate primary in Ohio is a test of Trump’s influence now that he is no longer in office.

Former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who has closely followed Trump’s charged rhetoric throughout the primary, has been near the top of polls for months. But just a few weeks ago, Trump endorsed J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, who is now narrowly considered the frontrunner. The endorsement was somewhat of a surprise given Vance’s past criticisms of Trump.

Other GOP candidates include businessman Mike Gibbons, former state party chair Jane Timken and state Sen. Matt Dolan, who says he supports Trump but has also said he believes Trump should stop trying to reject the results of the 2020 election.

On the Democratic side, the expected winner is current Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, who has long had a centrist approach in Washington. Ryan faces Traci Johnson and more progressive candidate Morgan Harper.

Ryan is also putting some space between himself and the current administration. When asked if he would have President Biden and Vice President Harris stump for him in Ohio, the congressman said, “This is my race. I’m going to be the face of this.”

2. Ohio Governor

Incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, is facing off against three GOP challengers who lean further right: former U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, former state Rep. Ron Hood and businessman and farmer Joe Blystone. DeWine has a substantial lead in fundraising and has led in public opinion surveys.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine answers reporters’ questions in Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 6.

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Paul Vernon/AP

On the Democratic side, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley go head-to-head. Democrats likely face an uphill battle, no matter which candidate wins the nomination.

3. Ohio’s 13th Congressional District

Rep. Ryan’s run for Senate has created an open, competitive U.S. House seat. While state Rep. Emilia Sykes is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, several Republicans are squaring off for the right to go against Sykes in November.

4, 5. Ohio’s 9th and 1st Congressional Districts

Longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s northern Ohio district was changed significantly as a result of redistricting, shifting the seat to the right as it included more conservative pockets. Four Republicans are now facing off to take her on, including state Sen. Theresa Gavarone, state Rep. Craig Riedel and Air Force veteran J.R. Majewski.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, speaks during an event with President Biden on Feb. 17 in Lorain, Ohio.

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Ken Blaze/AP

On the flip side, Republican incumbent Steve Chabot saw his Cincinnati-based district, the 1st, move to the left. Trump has endorsed Chabot, who has a primary challenger. Cincinnati City Councilor Greg Landsman is running unopposed for Democrats.

6. Ohio’s 7th Congressional District

Another test of Trump’s influence could play out in Ohio’s 7th district. The area is solidly Republican and the seat is currently held by Rep. Bob Gibbs, who announced just last month he would not seek reelection.

Gibbs was originally running again and was up against former Trump aide Max Miller, who is now leading the race and has received Trump’s endorsement.

This district is also one to watch because of recent redistricting. The 7th now includes a large swath of the 16th Congressional District, which is represented by Anthony Gonzalez. The congressman, who was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, has also announced he is retiring.

7. Indiana’s 1st Congressional District

In the Hoosier State, around Gary, Ind., the National Republican Congressional Committee considers incumbent Rep. Frank Mrvan as one of the vulnerable Democrats this year, though it’s been a blue district. He doesn’t face any significant challengers in his own party.

Among his Republican challengers are two women: Blair Milo, a Navy veteran and former LaPorte mayor, and Jennifer-Ruth Green, an Air Force veteran. Green has been endorsed by Indiana’s attorney general and if elected in November would be the second Black Republican woman ever elected to Congress.

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