JD Vance, an author and venture capitalist, defeated Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in the race for the Ohio Senate seat, who was allowed to retire by Republican Senator Rob Portman.
Democrats hoped to anger Republicans in Buckeye state, but Ohio’s conservative stance was too much for even a moderate like Ryan to overcome.
Vance’s campaign was heavily focused on tying Ryan, a longtime member of the House of Representatives, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and President Biden.
Ohio, once a swing state, has turned conservative in recent years as former President Trump gained a foothold in the unions. Vance pledged to Ohio residents to secure the southern border and act against the tide of illegal fentanyl entering the state.
Republicans were on the defense in Ohio, so the win doesn’t add to the party’s faction size in the Senate. Instead, the Ohio race was viewed by many conservative strategists as an unnecessary struggle given the state’s conservative leaning and demographics.
“Ohio is whiter than the nation, older than the nation and less educated than the nation. And that combination almost entirely precludes democratic success,” David Niven, a professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, told The Times in September.
But a win is a win for the GOP, which is trying to block Biden’s agenda in the second half of his tenure.
Ryan hails from the Northeast of the state, where he represented the Youngstown area in the House of Representatives for almost 20 years. He described himself as an outsider within his party and not afraid to challenge Democratic leadership. During the campaign, Ryan routinely referenced his 2016 fight for the minority leader position against Pelosi and his approval of Trump’s trade policies.
Ryan promised voters he would crack down on China and bring manufacturing jobs back to Ohio.
Vance, best known for his 2015 book Hillbilly Elegy, was born in southwest Ohio in Middletown, a former steel town where the economy has declined since many plants closed in the 1970s.
Vance rose to fame as the darling of liberal Media for his criticism of Trump and for what some pundits claimed was special ability to explain the white, working class of the industrial Midwest. But Vance warmed to Trump. He actively sought and eventually secured the former President’s support in the Republican primary.
The Ohio Senate race was definitely Vance’s loser. Trump twice won the state by at least eight percentage points; Ohio has elected a single Democrat, Senator Sherrod Brown, to statewide office in the past decade.
Vance’s campaign got off to a slow start, and he proved a lackluster fundraiser. Trump mocked the candidate at a rally in Ohio, saying, “JD kisses my ass.”
Ryan seized on this, running ads saying Ohio needed an “ass kicker, not ass kissers.” He painted Vance as a candidate in Trump’s pocket and one allied with fringe elements of the Republican Party. He highlighted Vance’s opposition to the 2020 election and his sympathy for the Jan. 6 rioters. Ryan also criticized Vance for leaving Ohio to work with Peter Thiel in the Bay Area, repeatedly calling him a “San Francisco con man.”
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-11-08/jd-vance-wins-ohio-senate-race J.D. Vance wins Ohio Senate race