Former President Donald Trump has decided to endorse a candidate in one of the most competitive Republican primaries in the country, according to a report Thursday.
NBC News reported that Trump plans to endorse entrepreneur and author J.D. Vance for U.S. senator in Ohio.
NBC cited three sources close to the 45th president who are aware of Trump’s decision.
Vance is competing with former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and investor Mike Gibbons in the Republican primary for U.S. senator in Ohio.
According to the NBC report, one Republican familiar with the situation said Mandel launched a lobbying drive to prevent Trump from endorsing Vance after learning of the development.
“The Mandel people hit the roof,” the Trump confidante said of the development.
Michael Caputo, a political consultant close to the former president, claimed that reports of a Trump endorsement for Vance aligned with his own conversations with Trump.
This is consistent with my conversations. @JDVance1 and I disagree on Russia-Ukraine but I was encouraged by his thoughtful approach to our discussion.
I don’t have to agree 100% with any candidate. I encouraged all my family in Ohio to support JD in the primary. He’s the guy.
— Not a biologist (@MichaelRCaputo) April 14, 2022
The primary election will take place on May 3, with the winner advancing to the general election in November. Trump is planning a rally in Ohio on April 23.
Donald Trump Jr. has appeared at fundraisers supporting Vance, suggesting the family is amenable to his candidacy.
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) April 4, 2022
Real Clear Politics’ aggregation of polling in the primary shows Gibbons with a thin lead over Mandel, with Vance trailing in third place.
Two other candidates, Jane Timken and Matt Dolan, poll with less support than the top three.
However, the major candidates in the race have pushed internal polling showing themselves at the top.
Vance has been described as a populist on economic policy.
A Fox News poll indicated that 24% of Republican voters were undecided in the race as of last month, providing any candidate room to grow their support enough for victory.
Mandel and Gibbons nearly came to blows in a tense exchange during a debate last month, with Vance suggesting their behavior was an embarrassment to conservatives.
Mandel grew heated with Gibbons after the investment banker criticized his lack of private-sector job experience.
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