J.D. Vance

Trump Endorsement Helps Candidate Take The Lead

Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance has surged to take the lead in the state’s Republican primary after receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Polls showed Vance in third place behind two other Republicans before Trump announced the endorsement; now the percentage of voters supporting him has more than doubled. The race isn’t decided yet, but Vance is becoming a very likely nominee.

J.D. Vance surges in Ohio

The choice of J.D. Vance was controversial in Republican circles, and even some of Trump’s close allies had urged him to choose a different candidate or stay out of the race.

Current polling shows that Trump did not need to worry about their concerns, as Vance has surged to first place and is well placed to win the upcoming primary.

Part of this is thanks to Trump, but it is also clear that Trump watched the race closely and chose to support the campaign that appeared to have the most potential.

Most of the candidates in the Ohio race courted Trump for his endorsement, but Vance ironically won it despite having a shorter and sparser record of support for Trump than his competitors.

He was helped by the fact that the other leading candidates, Josh Mandel and Mike Gibbons, have publicly feuded with each other and nearly got into a fistfight at a debate.

Trump, like many observers, reportedly thought that the display was embarrassing. That left Vance as the logical choice, but the “Hillbilly Elegy” author was already a likely pick.

Other Republicans divided over pick

Vance has had the enthusiastic support of billionaire Peter Thiel, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and Senator Josh Hawley. Donald Trump Jr. was won over even before his father decided to endorse Vance.

Still, Republicans who are otherwise close to Trump have spent millions of dollars to oppose J.D. Vance; Josh Mandel and Jane Timkin are far more popular in more traditional Republican circles.

J.D. Vance vocally opposed Trump in 2016, but his current candidacy embraces Trump’s accomplishments in office and the former president himself has said that Vance now “gets it.”

His campaign is strongly focused on rallying the sorts of disillusioned voters who supported Trump in 2016 and 2020, with an added emphasis on the importance of conservatives standing up to multinational corporations.

Trump won Ohio by appealing to working class whites and unhappy Democrats in 2016 and he largely maintained those votes in 2020.

If Vance can replicate that success then he will become one of Trump’s greatest success stories of 2022, and he will offer a new direction for the Republican Party’s future.

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