J.D. Vance, a populist conservative endorsed by former President Donald Trump, completed a comeback win in the Ohio Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday night.
Polling had shown that Vance slightly trailed in the race as recently as mid-April, just before he received a key endorsement from the former president.
Vance would go on to secure a definitive win, taking the three-way primary with nearly a large cushion over his closest competitor, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
With 95 percent of the vote reported, he had 32.2 percent to Mandel’s 23.9.
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) May 4, 2022
The Republican will face Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in the November general election. The winner will replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.
Vance has framed his campaign on conservative populist policy espoused by Trump in his 2016 presidential campaign.
“I have absolutely got to thank the 45th, the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump,” he said in his late-night victory speech.
“Remember 2019 when wages were going up, not down? Remember 2019 when workers were doing well in this country?” Vance said in a nod to Trump’s governance.
Polling at the end of April showed Vance with a meager lead of 2 percentage points, with many expecting the closely contested primary would come down to the wire.
Emerson Ohio GOP Senate poll: Vance 26%, Mandel 24%, Dolan 21% https://t.co/caTtgTIuKr
Poll was conducted April 28-29.
— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) May 1, 2022
Mandel, a career politician who many Ohio Republican operatives viewed as the favorite in the race, alienated key audiences when he appeared to threaten a competitor during an exchange in a debate.
“A lot of the fake news media out there … they wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump’s America First agenda,” Vance said, hitting back at establishment media hit pieces targeting him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it ain’t the death of the America First agenda.”
THANK YOU OHIO!
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) May 4, 2022
Vance criticized the Republican Party’s relationship with woke corporations and liberal billionaires in his campaign, blaming the political establishment for the deindustrialization of Ohio, open borders and the fentanyl crisis.
“Do we want a Republican Party that stands for the donors that write checks to the Club for Growth, or do we want a Republican Party for the people right here in Ohio?” the venture capitalist and Marine Corps veteran said, according to WKYC-TV in Cleveland.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we just answered the question.”
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