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Former President Donald Trump waded through Ohio’s crowded and contentious Republican Senate primary to offer an endorsement with just over two weeks to go before the election.
Trump on Friday backed JD Vance, a venture capitalist turned Midwest memoirist, whose bestselling Hillbilly Elegy launched his career as a conservative media commentator.
The GOP contest has several candidates who have touted their allegiances to Trump, but the former president said in a statement that “in the great state of Ohio, the most qualified candidate ready to win in November is JD Vance. “.
The endorsement comes ahead of a Trump rally in Ohio next weekend.
The state’s Republican primary was a race to the right of the party, as Vance and a trio of his opponents – businessman Mike Gibbons, former state treasurer Josh Mandel and former GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken — worked to reflect Trump’s style and elevated his companionship issues. alleged electoral fraud and illegal immigration.
Vance made a particularly striking development on Trump.
The Republican has lived much of his life in San Francisco – in 2017, he announced in a New York Times editorial that he would return to Ohio – and ahead of the 2016 election he called Trump “harmful” and said he was considering voting for a third-party candidate.
In a tweet deleted since March 2017, first reported by CNNVance wrote, “In 4 years, I hope people will remember that it was those of us who sympathized with Trump voters who fought him most aggressively.”
Now Vance will rely on the president’s endorsement to back him up in a crowded field of candidates.
“Like others, JD Vance may have said some not-so-good things about me in the past, but he gets it now, and I’ve seen it in spades,” Trump said in his statement Wednesday. “He is our best chance of victory in what could be a very tough race.”
The open competition follows the announced retirement of Republican Senator Rob Portman.
“I’ve studied this race closely,” said Trump, who won the state twice in his presidential run, “and I think JD is most likely to take out the weak Democratic opponent, but dangerous.” The leading Democratic candidate is Representative Tim Ryan.
Trump’s endorsement follows a surprise endorsement from TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz during last week’s Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary, one of several endorsements Trump has given across the board. campaign to candidates willing to support his lies about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
It remains to be seen how influential the former president’s endorsements will be. In the Georgia governor race, Trump backed former Sen. David Perdue over incumbent Brian Kemp — although Perdue continued to trail Kemp considerably in the polls.