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Voters in 13 states head to the polls in May — starting with Ohio and Indiana

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

The Supreme Court news may end up influencing voters ahead of the November midterms. In a leaked draft opinion written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito and published in Politico, a majority of the court declares Roe should be overruled. Meanwhile, 13 states are holding primaries this month, and voters in Ohio and Indiana headed to the polls today for statewide primaries. Key congressional races are up for grabs. I spoke with NPR's senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro earlier this morning.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Well, it really has the potential to be an earthquake in this election. I mean, we're likely to see mass protests from women and men who are in favor of abortion rights. It could fire them up to vote in a year when Democrats are facing enormous headwinds. This is also going to raise the pressure on Democratic congressional leaders to get rid of the filibuster and pass legislation that codifies abortion rights in this country. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer released a statement last night saying the conservative justices have lied to the American people because, during their confirmation hearings, they repeatedly said that Roe v. Wade is precedent and the law of the land. Republicans, by the way, have used the culture war issues to fire up their base. No issue's more central to that than abortion. But our latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll - it's worth pointing out - found that Democrats had an 11-point advantage on the question of which party Americans think is better at dealing with abortion as an issue. And an ABC News poll out this week also had similar numbers. So not an outlier there.

MARTINEZ: All right, now to Ohio. What's going on with the key Senate races there?

MONTANARO: Yeah, there's a race to replace Republican Senator Rob Portman, who's retiring. Trump has endorsed J.D. Vance over several others who are trying hard for Trump's endorsement. Vance wrote the book "Hillbilly Elegy." But it was a surprise that Trump did this because Vance had been hotly critical of Trump before he became president. Vance has gotten a bump in the polls, but there are lots of undecided voters. Trump's endorsement did not, by the way, go down exactly well with his base. Before it, the top contenders were seen as state treasurer Josh Mandel and investment banker Mike Gibbons. It's been a pretty nasty fight, with Mandel and Gibbons nearly getting into a fistfight, literally, at a debate not that long ago.

MARTINEZ: I saw that. I saw that.

MONTANARO: (Laughter).

MARTINEZ: What about - yeah, it was wild. What about the Democrats, then? Do they have a shot in this race?

MONTANARO: Well, Ohio's a bit of a longer shot for Democrats than some other places, but they hope that this GOP tension can potentially open up a path for their likely nominee, Congressman Tim Ryan. He's got a pretty centrist profile in Washington. And remember - Ohio used to be a swing state, but it's just not the case anymore. It's trended more Republican, and that is a sign of just where the politics are in this state. When Ryan was asked if he wanted Biden to campaign with him, President Biden to campaign with him, he said that he's running his own race.

MARTINEZ: All right. Now, we mentioned Donald Trump's endorsements. Where else are you watching where his backing might matter?

MONTANARO: Well, this month, some pretty key races. We're looking at Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where there are some key Senate races. In Georgia, which is a hotbed of political activity, there's a governor's race and secretary of state race, and there, Trump has endorsed challengers to Republican incumbents, and those challengers have all backed his election lies and attempts to overturn the presidential election there. So lots to watch in the coming month, and it's really going to be a critical month as we kick off these primary elections.

MARTINEZ: That's NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, thanks.

MONTANARO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.