Trump-backed J.D. Vance wins Ohio Senate race against Tim Ryan
Venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance has defeated Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio's pivotal open Senate race, the Associated Press reported.
Why it matters: Vance's conversion from fervent Donald Trump critic to full-throated supporter and election denier attracted the former president's endorsement — propelling his victory in a state Trump won comfortably twice.
State of play: The Vance campaign's emphasis on economic issues and public safety appealed to Ohioans, and he won despite supporting hardline anti-abortion views that conflict with a majority of voters who want abortion rights protected.
- Vance was considered to be a slight favorite in the race after winning a bruising, MAGA-centric primary to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.
- Ryan, who had sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, kept the race closer than expected by openly courting right-leaning voters. He praised Trump’s economic policies in ads while keeping President Biden at a distance.
- Ryan accused his opponent of peddling white replacement theory during their recent debate, which Vance vehemently denied.
What's next: How Vance will conduct himself in Washington remains unclear.
- He may opt to resemble the outgoing Portman, a fellow Cincinnati Republican, by reverting to his pre-election identity as a pragmatic capitalist.
- Or he could carry on his newer public persona as a MAGA firebrand akin to Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a campaign ally.
The bottom line: Vance once described his return to Ohio in 2017 after the publication of his “Hillbilly Elegy” memoir as being rooted in civic responsibility. He will take office in January with that responsibility — representing 11.8 million constituents in his first-ever public role — put to the test.