As the closely fought Ohio Senate GoP primary race gets to the finish line, JD Vance maintains a clear lead, according to opinion polls. Former President Donald Trump''s late endorsement will help Vance win the primary to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.
Voters head to polls Tuesday for statewide primary elections in Ohio and Indiana.
Vance, the venture capitalist and author has been backed by Trump, was seen taking the lead by 26 percent on the Real Clear Politics polling average from the former state treasurer Josh Mandel with 22.5 percent, Matt Dolan with 21.5 percent and lastly Mike Gibbons with 15 percent.
Other candidates Mark Pukita and Neil Patel, two Columbus-area business owners, polled at a distant 2 percent each. According to polls, the previously mentioned 4 candidates have a real shot at winning the Ohio primary, in all likelihood experts predict it can be Vance.
The Financial Times revealed that the venture capitalist has heavily criticized Trump in the past, privately compared him to Adolf Hitler. But the equation has changed ever since he launched his senate race.
Vance has since then participated in the campaign trail with Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, two of Trump's most distinguished and 'controversial' supporters in Congress. While Greene is also identified as a far-right conspiracy theorist, Gaetz is currently under investigation over possible underage sex-trafficking.
The result of Trump backing Vance which has been labelled as a riskier one, has doubled his support to the point that he is now leading the polling average. However, there have been instances when Trump's support seemed to falter like when he got Vance's name wrong midway between a rally speech confusing him with Josh Mandel, "We've endorsed – JP, right? JD Mandel, and he's doing great."
An analyst at the Cook Political Report, Jessica Taylor, believes that this election is proving to be a major test of Trump's endorsement. "He's made a risky pick with JD Vance" she further added that it remains to be seen, "whether his endorsement alone can turn a race."
It certainly is true because if Vance loses, the former president's opponents will target this loss as an indication that Trump is no longer a dead-cert 'kingmaker.'
As per NBC4 out of all the candidates, Vance's closest challenger is state Sen. Matt Dolan, the only candidate Trump said he wouldn't endorse and who is seen as a more center-right choice in the race, and the only candidate at debates who reminded Trump to move on from his loss in 2020 instead of repeating invalid claims of widespread voter fraud.