Midterm results: JD Vance defeats Tim Ryan in Ohio Senate race

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JD Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar) Tom E. Puskar/AP

Midterm results: JD Vance defeats Tim Ryan in Ohio Senate race

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Venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance (R-OH) has defeated Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) in their race to represent Ohio in the Senate, the bellwether state once again breaking Democratic political hearts.

Vance had been polling ahead of Ryan by an average of 2 percentage points before Election Day, according to both FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics. Ryan flipping Ohio, held by retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) until January, would have provided Democrats with cover should they not succeed in defending their current seats in the evenly divided chamber or pick up any other opportunities on the 2022 map.

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Herbert Asher, a retired Ohio State University political science professor, described Vance’s strategy as linking Ryan to President Joe Biden and poor economic conditions, including 40-year-high consumer prices.

“Ryan, in contrast, [attacked] Vance on character traits and Vance being an extremist, out of touch with Ohioans,” Asher told the Washington Examiner.

Ryan tried to distance himself from Biden and congressional Democrats, despite serving in the House since 2003. The congressman from northeastern Ohio’s Akron and Youngstown made a surprise appearance alongside Biden for the groundbreaking of Intel’s Licking County site in September, before repeating last month that Biden should not run for president again in 2024. Amid Biden and Congress’s low approval ratings, Ryan had been helped by his past criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Vance, who rose to national prominence after his bestselling 2016 memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, had also contended with his own problems posed by Republican leadership, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell underscoring the importance of “candidate quality” last summer was aimed at TV doctor and Senate candidate Mehmet Oz (R-PA), but Vance, too, had been scrutinized by the GOP establishment for mounting a lackluster campaign, despite financial backing from McConnell, entrepreneur Peter Thiel, and hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.

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At the same time, Ryan out-fundraised Vance, bringing in $47 million and spending $44.5 million, according to OpenSecrets last month. In comparison, Vance hauled in $12 million and spent $9 million.

Democrats were optimistic Biden’s working-class background would make inroads in Ohio four years ago, but Biden lost the Republican-leaning state to former President Donald Trump by 8 points, 53% to 45%.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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