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Trump officially endorses J.D. Vance in the Ohio Senate rac

Former President Donald Trump on Friday announced he was endorsing J.D. Vance in the Republican primary in the Ohio Senate race.

It could prove the decisive push for the Hillbilly Elegy author in a bitterly fought race to claim the party nomination.  

Allies of rival GOP candidates Josh Mandel, the state’s former treasurer, and Jane Timken, a former Ohio Republican Party chair, had tried to hold up the announcement and claimed Vance once referred to Trump supporters as racist. 

But it did not stop the former president eventually putting his weight behind Vance as the candidate best placed to claim a Republican victory.

‘Like some others, J.D. Vance may have said some not so great things about me in the past, but he gets it now, and I have seen that in spades,’ he said in a statement. 

‘He is our best chance for victory in what could be a very tough race.’

A source familiar with Trump’s decision said Vance had powerful backers. Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, Sen. Josh Hawley and Donald Trump Jr. all lobbied the president to plump for Vance.

And Trump was turned off Mandel and businessman Mike Gibbons when they nearly came to blows in a heated debate exchange about Chinese petroleum last month.

He thought they ‘looked like clowns,’ ending any chance that they would win his endorsement. 

Instead Trump insisted Vance, a 37-year-old Marine veteran, had the best chance of winning and will serve as a ‘devastating rebuke of the ‘failures of Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats’. 

Ohio Senate hopeful J.D. Vance

Former President Donald Trump has officially endorsed J.D. Vance in the Republican primary in the Ohio Senate race. The Hillbilly Elegy authored earned the prized endorsement in a crowded field in what is expected to be a hotly contested race

In a statement on Friday, Trump said: 'MAGA patriots from across the nation are set to deliver an election landslide for Republicans that will serve as a devastating rebuke of the failures of Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats'

In a statement on Friday, Trump said: ‘MAGA patriots from across the nation are set to deliver an election landslide for Republicans that will serve as a devastating rebuke of the failures of Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats’

It is the second big endorsement Trump has made in the last seven days after backing Dr. Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race. 

Vance celebrated Trump’s backing in a tweet: ‘I’m incredibly honored to have President Trump’s support. 

‘He was an incredible fighter for hard working Americans in the White House, he will be again, and I’ll fight for the America First Agenda in the Senate.’

The winner of the nomination will likely face face a stiff test in the form of Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in the November election.

With his endorsement, Trump signaled that he believes Vance is not only closely aligned with his own thinking, but is best place to win.   

‘The Democrats will be spending many millions of dollars, but the good news is that they have a defective candidate who ran for president and garnered exactly zero percent in the polls,’ said Trump. 

‘The bottom line is, we must have a Republican victory in Ohio.’

Senate hopefuls Mike Gibbons, 69, (left, standing) and Josh Mandel, 44, (right) came toe-to-toe at a primary debate last month after Mandel attacked the father-of-five's financial assets in China, claiming he 'made millions' there. The clash lost them the chance of Trump's endorsement according to a source familiar with the former president's thinking

Senate hopefuls Mike Gibbons, 69, (left, standing) and Josh Mandel, 44, (right) came toe-to-toe at a primary debate last month after Mandel attacked the father-of-five’s financial assets in China, claiming he ‘made millions’ there. The clash lost them the chance of Trump’s endorsement according to a source familiar with the former president’s thinking

At one point someone had to tried to break the two men up as they argued about money and life experiences

Gibbons went on to say that former Marine 'didn't know squat' because he's never worked in private sector, to which Mandel replied that he had served two tours in Iraq and told the businessman: 'Don't tell me I haven't worked'

Gibbons went on to say that former Marine ‘didn’t know squat’ because he’s never worked in private sector, to which Mandel replied that he had served two tours in Iraq and told the businessman: ‘Don’t tell me I haven’t worked.’ At one point someone had to tried to break the two men up as they argued about money and life experiences 

‘This is not an easy endorsement for me to make because I like and respect some of the other candidates in the race—they’ve said great things about “Trump” and, like me, they love Ohio and love our Country. 

‘I’ve studied this race closely and I think J.D. is the most likely to take out the weak, but dangerous, Democrat opponent—dangerous because they will have so much money to spend. 

‘However, J.D. will destroy him in the debates and will fight for the MAGA Movement in the Senate. 

‘He’s strong on the border, tough on crime, understands how to use taxes and tariffs to hold China accountable, will fight to break up Big Tech, and has been a warrior on the rigged and stolen presidential election. J.D. is a Marine who served in the Iraq War, a graduate of The Ohio State University, and earned a law degree from Yale—a great student. 

‘With J.D. Vance, Ohio gets both brains and brawn. Ohio has been good to me, I won it twice, really bIG, and I have likewise been GREAT for Ohio. Let’s keep it going!

‘It is time for the entire MAGA movement, the greatest in the history of our Country, to unite behind J.D.’s campaign because, unlike so many other pretenders and wannabes, he will put America First. In other words, J.D. Vance has my Complete and Total Endorsement. He will not let you down.’

It came a day after Politico reported that more than three dozen GOP chairs and state party central committee members signed a letter asking Trump not to endorse Vance, pointing out to the ex-president that the author ‘referred to your supporters as “racists” and proudly voted for Evan McMullin in 2016.’ 

One of the Republican officials whose name appeared on the letter, Putnam County GOP’s Chairman Tony Schroeder later came out and said he didn’t agree to put his name on the document, which was leaked to Politico. 

Additionally, Politico reported that a pro-Mandel polling firm, Remington Research, circulated a memo pegging Vance as a loser – even with Trump’s nudge. 

‘J.D. Vance will still lose even with President Trump’s endorsement,’ the memo, authored by Remington’s President Titus Bond, said. ‘J.D. Vance is widely known by Republican Primary voters for his Never-Trumper comments and his calling Trump supporters “racists.”‘ 

‘Since he is already known to Ohioans as a self-proclaimed “Never Trumper” and voters will forcefully be reminded of that, Vance will still lose even with President Trump’s endorsement,’ Bond said.   

The memo said that even with the Trump bump, Vance would come in fourth in the primary, at around 15 per cent.      

Vance thanked Trump for his in endorsement. He tweeted: 'I'm incredibly honored to have President Trump's support. He was an incredible fighter for hard working Americans in the White House, he will be again, and I'll fight for the America First Agenda in the Senate'

Vance thanked Trump for his in endorsement. He tweeted: ‘I’m incredibly honored to have President Trump’s support. He was an incredible fighter for hard working Americans in the White House, he will be again, and I’ll fight for the America First Agenda in the Senate’

Mandel had shared a clip of Vance in August, in which the author said that some of Trump’s supporters are racist. 

The clip cuts off before Vance then says that most of them are not. 

‘I always resist the idea that the real thing driving most Trump voters was racial anxiety or racial animus, partially because I didn’t see it. I mean, the thing that really motivated people to vote for Trump first in the primary and then in the general election was three words: jobs, jobs, jobs,’ Vance said at a University of Chicago Institute of Politics event in 2017. 

Vance, Mandel and Timken haven’t even historically been the leaders of the race, with the polling edge until recently going to Republican businessman Mike Gibbons.  

However Gibbons ‘is not on his radar,’ one source close to Trump told Politico.  

A Trafalgar Group poll released Friday morning showed Mandel and Vance had leapfrogged Gibbons in the latest survey, coming in first and second, respectively. 

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