Who won the GOP primary, Democratic race
JD Vance triumphed in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate seat in Ohio on Tuesday, defeating six other Republicans in a deadly bid to replace Sen. Rob Portman.
The Associated Press called the race for Vance around 9:30 p.m. as he led his opponents with 32% of the vote, according to unofficial results. Former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, investment banker Mike Gibbons, former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken, State Senator Matt Dolan, and businessmen Mark Pukita and Neil Patel were also up for the nomination.
Vance will face Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Ryan in November. The ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author was pushed across the finish line by former President Donald Trump, who endorsed him after debate for months whether to weigh in the race.
Speaking to supporters in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Vance thanked his Republican opponents and other leaders who backed his primary candidacy, including Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. He was holding a sheet of yellow legal paper that listed the names of the people he wanted to mention in black marker, the largest being “Trump.”
“I promise you I remember where I came from,” Vance said. “I remember who made me who I am. And when I get to the United States Senate, I won’t forget you.”
Tim Ryan easily wins the Democratic primary
In the Democratic race, Ryan was expected to defeat attorney Morgan Harper and tech executive Traci Johnson with 70% of the vote. The 10-term congressman was considered the frontrunner in the race and guaranteed endorsements of top Democrats across the state.
He also outpaced his Republican opponents in fundraising, even as some channeled millions of their own dollars in the main competition.
“We’re trying to build a future with our kids. It doesn’t come from hating each other,” Ryan said at an election party in Columbus. “It comes from the fact that we look at each other and see Americans, fellow Americans, who are charged with the responsibility … of guiding this democracy.”
Harper sought to capture support progressive Democrats who feel disenchanted with the current party structure. Touting policies like Medicare for All and expanding the Supreme Court, she argued that Ryan is a career politician who accomplished little during his time in Congress.
She also criticized Ryan’s record on abortion access, noting that he opposed the practice until publicly change position in 2015.
Ryan, for his part, has embraced a worker-focused message that he hopes will sway moderates in the November election. In his latest ad, he criticized progressive efforts to defund the police and said Democrats “got it wrong too” with trade deals that led to job losses in the United States.
Some have accused Ryan of stoking anti-Asian sentiment with his harsh rhetoric toward China.
“I criticized Nancy Pelosi, I disagreed with Obama, I agreed with Trump,” Ryan said, pointing out that he is ultimately looking for Ohioans rather than his political party.
The difficult GOP primary is coming to an end
The GOP primary was far more contentious than the Democratic race, especially in its final days. Trump’s endorsement de Vance gave the venture capitalist a critical boost at the end of his campaign, but some voters remained skeptical of him in the final days of the race.
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The endorsement also heightened tensions between Vance and Mandel, who led the polls for several months before Trump made his decision. Groups supporting the two men clashed over the airwaves on everything from Vance’s comments to Mandel’s past appearances with moderate Republicans like 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“I look forward to voting for (Vance) in November and doing what I can to help him beat Tim Ryan,” Mandel said during a brief concession speech in suburban Cleveland. “The stakes are too high for this country not to support the candidate.”
Recent poll in the GOP primary illustrated a tight race with some undecided voters days before Tuesday’s election. Dolan, the only candidate who hasn’t actively sought Trump’s endorsement, saw a belated surge in those polls after trailing his opponents for several months.
In the end, however, no one could catch Vance.
In Cincinnati, the candidate called on his fellow Republicans to unite against Ryan now that the primary is over: “A lot of people just want a vote and they just want someone who believes in them, and someone who will fight for their American Dream.”
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliate news organizations across Ohio.