AP Race Call: NPR

Ohio U.S. Senate candidate JD Vance greets a supporter after winning the Republican primary on May 3, 2022 during election night in Cincinnati.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images


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Drew Angerer/Getty Images


Ohio U.S. Senate candidate JD Vance greets a supporter after winning the Republican primary on May 3, 2022 during election night in Cincinnati.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Author JD Vance, who earned former President Donald Trump’s belated endorsement in Ohio’s Republican Senate primary last month, has won the GOP contest, according to a racing appeal from The Associated Press.

Vance topped Josh Mandel, a former state treasurer who had molded himself to Trump and who had been at the top of the polls for months.

The Republican nominee will face Democratic US Representative Tim Ryan, who won his party’s contest earlier Tuesday night, the AP said.

Vance, who rose to conservative fame after writing the memoir Hillbilly Elegyalso defeated state senator Matt Dolan in the GOP primary, along with investment banker Mike Gibbons and former Republican party chairman Jane Timken.

The Trump Factor

Even before Trump endorsed Vance, the race had become something of a test of who could be the most Trump-like. A Mandel ad said he was “pro-Trump”, while Timken said she was “the real Trump conservative”. Gibbons compared his businessman background to Trump’s.

Vance, meanwhile, had a history of criticizing the former president, which is part of why Trump’s endorsement came as a surprise to many in Ohio. In 2016, Vance had called Trump “reprehensible” and an “idiot,” but in his primary campaign, Vance did a 180 and said those comments were “stupid.” He has since called Trump “the best president of my life.”

“Like some others, JD Vance may not have said great things about me in the past, but he understands now, and I’ve seen that in spades,” Trump said in his statement of approval, adding that he had studied the race closely. .

Despite waiting until just a few weeks ago to weigh in — and name Vance at a rally on Sunday — it was clear Trump’s endorsement was affecting the race.

Vance immediately began soaring in the polls after Trump’s approval, overtaking Mandel, who was in his third campaign in the US Senate in recent days.

Also notable was how Trump’s endorsement of Vance seemingly impacted a candidate who had been more critical of the former president.

Dolan was the only candidate in the GOP field who said he thought Trump should stop talking about the results of the 2020 election. He also called the January 6 Uprising in the Capitol an attack on democracy.

Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball team, saw his polls soar after the former president backed Vance.

Trump’s decision to enter the race also sparked some Republican infighting.

The conservative group Club for Growth backed Mandel and ran ads against Vance for his past anti-Trump views. Mandel was also supported by Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Democrats hope a party divide will benefit them in the run-up to the November election, but Ohio’s purple-to-red trajectory is likely not in their favor. Trump won the once-swing state by a healthy margin in both 2016 and 2020.

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