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Bestselling author JD Vance has won Ohio’s contentious and hyper-competitive GOP Senate primary, buoyed by Donald Trump’s endorsement in a race widely seen as an early test of the former president’s hold on his party as the midterm season kicks into high gear.
Decision Desk HQ has projected J.D. Vance the winner of the hotly contest Ohio Senate GOP primary Tuesday night, making the call at 9:09 p.m. ET.
Endorsed by Trump when he was trailing in the polls, Vance had outperformed the final Trafalgar Group polling with more than 31% of the vote with around 66% of the vote in.
Both top challengers Josh Mandel and Matt Dolan also outperfermed their poll numbers, but it was not enough to overcome Vance behind the Trump endorsement.
Vance’s victory brings to a close an exceptionally bitter and expensive primary contest that, at one point, saw two candidates nearly come to blows on a debate stage. And it marks a major victory for Trump, who has staked his reputation as a GOP kingmaker on his ability to pull his chosen candidates across the finish line.
Vance had been behind in the polls before Trump waded into the race less than three weeks ago, endorsing the “Hillbilly Elegy” author and venture capitalist despite Vance’s history as a staunch Trump critic. Vance has since said he was wrong and, like most of his rivals, tied himself to the former president, eagerly courting his endorsement and running on his “America First” platform, underscoring the extent to which the GOP has transformed in his image.
Vance will face Democrat Tim Ryan, the 10-term Democrat congressman who easily won his three-way primary Tuesday night. But November’s general election to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman is expected to be an uphill climb for Ryan in a state Trump won twice by an 8-point margin and in what is expected to be a brutal election year for Democrats trying to hold their congressional majorities.