Aug 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

J.D. Vance gets conservative boost as cable coverage thrives

JD Vance

J.D. Vance. Screenshot via Fox News.

An influential House Republican has endorsed Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio, as internal polls show the author and venture capitalist rising as a contender for the seat vacated by Rob Portman's retirement.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, the largest bloc of House Republicans, tells Axios that Vance "isn't afraid to stand up to the woke elites and will always put middle- and working-class Ohioans first."

By the numbers: Former state treasurer Josh Mandel still leads early polls of the crowded 2022 GOP Senate primary field, but Vance has improved his standing among five candidates, according to recent internal surveys reviewed by Axios.

  • Tony Fabrizio, who polled for former President Donald Trump, has been polling for Vance's super PAC for the past few months.
  • Vance held a 6% share of the vote in April and 4% in June, respectively, well behind Mandel's 25% and 22% in the same surveys. But in July's survey of 800 likely Ohio Republican primary voters, Vance's share had risen to 12% — placing him second in the field behind Mandel, who fell slightly to 21% — per Fabrizio in a memo to the Vance super-PAC.

Bottom line: Vance appears to be benefitting from a recent string of positive conservative media coverage, which has helped him overcome an early liability: in 2016 he staunchly opposed Donald Trump.

  • He has since made amends and become a vocal Trump supporter.
  • The highest-rated host on cable TV, Tucker Carlson, has been promoting and praising Vance, perhaps more than any other recent candidate. The Carlson stamp of approval has surely helped raise his profile with the Republican base.
  • Banks praised Vance for fighting against "Big Tech," illegal immigration, gun control and Biden's economic agenda and said he's proud to endorse him as "a strong America First leader."

Go deeper: Read the full Fabrizio memo

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