JD Vance wins Republican Senate race after Trump endorsement

CBS News projected that JD Vance won the Republican nomination for the Ohio Senate, after surging to the top when the former President Donald Trump backed him.

Most Republicans vying for the nomination for the open Senate seat have sought Trump’s endorsement, including former state treasurer Josh Mandel, who has presented himself as a pro-Trump politician.

Ohio has long been considered the perennial swing state. But Trump won the state by 8 points, and once Vance won the former president’s endorsement, his popularity skyrocketed. A Fox News poll released last week, conducted after Trump’s endorsement, showed Vance leading with 23%, more than double the 11% he recorded in a Fox News poll in early March.

Vance was once a Trump critic but won the former president’s endorsement by embracing Trump’s views on issues including trade, immigration and the slamming of big tech companies. Vance’s victory on Tuesday demonstrated that Trump still holds sway over a sizable portion of Republican primary voters.

Vance’s victory is also a victory for billionaire Peter Thiel, who is becoming increasingly influential in conservative politics. Thiel gave at least $10 million to a super PAC supporting Vance, providing financial resources for pro-Vance advertisements when Vance’s opponents outranked him.

JD Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, shakes hands with former President Donald Trump during a rally hosted by the former president at the Delaware County Fairgrounds April 23, 2022 in Delaware, Ohio.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vance focused his victory speech on the upcoming fight against U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, who is expected to win the Democratic nomination.

“Now the party we need to unify to fight Tim Ryan is our Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen. This is the workers’ party for the entire state of Ohio, and it needs to fight, and it gotta earn it because let’s be honest – Tim Ryan, watch his TV commercials, watch the things he does,” Vance said. “The guy comes off as Democrat Trump, right?”

Mandel, conceding, said he looked forward “to voting for him in November and doing what I can to help him beat Tim Ryan,” who is expected to win the Democratic nomination.

“The stakes are too high for this country not to support the candidate,” Mandel said.

State Senator Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians, was the only leading candidate to say President Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, and he was the only leading candidate who did not ask Trump’s endorsement. On Monday, he told CBS News that if Mandel or Vance win, “they will have to explain themselves” over their baseless claims of a stolen election.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Mike DeWine won the GOP primary, CBS News also screened just before 8:30 p.m. ET. He will face Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton who won the Democratic nomination, according to CBS News projections.

Ohio’s election chief, Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, also faced a major challenge. CBS News projected that LaRose prevailed in the Republican primary.

LaRose said in mid-November 2020 that it’s “irresponsible” for Republicans to say the election was stolen without offering any evidence. But his rhetoric has since changed, and the Ohio’s election chief tweeted in February that “President Trump is correct that voter fraud is a serious problem.” LaRose won Trump’s endorsement in the race, although he was challenged by former state lawmaker John Adams, who called President Biden’s victory “clearly not legitimate.”

On the Democratic side, CBS News predicts that U.S. Representative Tim Ryan will win the Democratic Senate primary. Ryan, of northeast Ohio, has the blessing of Democratic state Sen. Sherrod Brown and other mainstream Democrats against his two challengers. Although he apparently won the primary, the road to victory in November is more difficult, as national Democrats are likely to focus on overturning seats in states that Mr. Biden has won – or at least that are more competitive.

In Ohio’s 11th congressional district, CBS News is projecting that incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown once again defeated Sanders’ surrogate mother, Nina Turner, in a rematch from last year’s special election. The Cleveland area seat is a safe blue seat, so the winner of the primary is likely to win in November.

The final day of voting comes just hours after Politico released a draft notice disclosed this suggested that the Supreme Court seemed poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. It is a development that has sent shockwaves across the country. While draft opinions may change before a final opinion is reached and Supreme Court justices may change their minds, the news could galvanize voters in both parties.


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