JD Vance gets Donald Trump’s endorsement for Ohio Senate GOP race

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed JD Vance for the Republican Senate primary in Ohio, weeks before the May 3 election. Trump had resisted the race, but ultimately decided to back Vance, a venture capitalist and author of the “Hillbilly Elegy” memoir.

In his endorsement, Trump said Vance had the best chance of winning the general election against Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary.

“I’ve been studying this race closely and I think JD is most likely to take out the weak, but dangerous, dangerous Democratic opponent because he will have so much money to spend. However, JD will destroy him in the debates and fight for the MAGA movement in the Senate,” Trump wrote.

Vance faces a packed field in the Republican primary, including former Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken, former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel and businessman Mike Gibbons . A rival campaign staffer had thought Vance’s endorsement might not happen, after a letter was sent Thursday by the chairmen of the Ohio GOP central committee that urged Trump not to. sustain. This was first reported by Fox News.

But Trump had called trusted Republican donors and operatives in his orbit to gauge their opinion of Vance, a Trump adviser told CBS News. Vance previously criticized Trump and voted for independent Evan McMullin in the 2016 presidential race. Vance described Trump as “the cultural hero” and also called him “unfit” for president in 2016.

Trump acknowledged this in his endorsement, saying, “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 at the shovel.”

JD Vance Campaigns Ahead of Ohio Senate Primary Elections
U.S. Senate candidate JD Vance talks to potential voters during the campaign trail April 11, 2022 in Troy, Ohio.

Gaelen Morse/Getty Images

Vance is backed by billionaire and GOP megadonor Peter Thiel, who also donated to Trump in 2016. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also backs Vance.

In the proceedings, Vance echoed Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and echoed Trump’s positions on the US-Mexico border and relations with China.

“I am incredibly honored to have the support of President Trump. He was an incredible fighter for hard-working Americans in the White House, he will be again, and I will fight for America First in the Senate,” Vance tweeted.

Trump’s choice will be another test of the power of his approval in the contentious Republican primaries. Earlier this month he supported Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race against rival David McCormick.

In both races, Trump has former senior advisers working for his chosen candidate’s opponents. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager and senior White House adviser, now works for Timkin.

Trump is holding a rally in the state on Saturday, April 23. Early voting began on April 5 and will continue until May 2.

Fin Gomez and Caitlin Huey-Burns contributed reporting.

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