Politics

Vance wins Ohio GOP Senate primary after Trump endorsement, NBC News projects

Henry J. Gomez and Alex Seitz-Wald
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J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally on May 1, 2022 in Ohio. Buoyed by former President Donald Trump's endorsement, he prevailed in Ohio's competitive Republican Senate primary Tuesday and will face off in November against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, NBC News projects.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Buoyed by former President Donald Trump's endorsement, J.D. Vance prevailed in Ohio's competitive Republican Senate primary Tuesday and will face off in November against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, NBC News projects.

In the gubernatorial contest, incumbent Republican Mike DeWine secured the nomination in his bid for re-election, NBC News projects, while former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley won the Democratic nod.

In a Democratic congressional primary, NBC News projects Rep. Shontel Brown defeated former state Sen. Nina Turner, a progressive insurgent who had previously challenged Brown in a special election last year.

Vance, the author of the bestseller "Hillbilly Elegy," came out on top of a hotly contested five-way primary in which more than $70 million was spent on the airwaves as several candidates claimed to be the only true pro-Trump conservative in the race.

Trump's endorsement of Vance over former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and others last month upended a contest that had revolved around a very public audition for his support. It came 10 days after early voting began, and ballots cast on Election Day skewed more heavily for Vance than those cast during early balloting.

"Thanks to the president for everything, for endorsing me," Vance told supporters gathered Tuesday night inside a convention center ballroom in downtown Cincinnati.

He added a shot at the media — "there's some good ones in the back there, there's also some bad ones, too, let's be honest. ... They wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump's America First agenda."

The former president is sure to trumpet the victory in Ohio's primary, only the second of the year, which was widely seen as offering an early test of Trump's influence and the overall mood of the electorate ahead of November's midterm elections.

"I couldn't be happier about J.D.'s victory tonight," Donald Trump Jr., the former president's son, who campaigned with Vance down the stretch, said in a statement to NBC News.

"J.D. represents a new generation of conservative fighters in the vein of my father who understand that the time for talking is over, and the time for getting things done is here," Trump Jr. added.

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Polls ready to close in ugly Ohio GOP primary

DeWine — once popular with voters in both parties because of decisive early leadership during the Covid pandemic — was fighting for renomination against several challengers running to his right. Meanwhile, Whaley defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.

Republicans are favored in both statewide contests in November's general election as Ohio has shifted deeper into the GOP column in recent years.

The rematch between Brown and Turner in Ohio's 11th Congressional District also has captured attention. The Democrats clashed last year in a bitter special election that dwelled on Turner's past criticisms of President Joe Biden, whom she worked against as a co-chair and prominent surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2020 White House campaign.

But it's the GOP Senate primary that became a closely watched barometer of national politics.