J.D. Vance defeated six other candidates in the May 3 Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio, including Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, and Jane Timken. Vance received 31.3% of the vote, while Mandel, Dolan, Gibbons, and Timken received 24.3%, 21.9%, 12%, and 6.6%, respectively. Incumbent Rob Portman (R), who was first elected in 2010, did not file to run for re-election.
Vance will face Democrat Tim Ryan in the Nov. 8 general election.
Vance served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, before working in venture capital in San Francisco. In 2016, he wrote Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir about growing up in Middletown, Ohio. Vance campaigned on bringing manufacturing back to Ohio, fixing the country’s immigration system and completing the wall along the southern border, and breaking up large technology companies.
Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt wrote that “[t]he Senate race in Ohio is a high-profile example of how Trump is dominating Republican down-ballot primaries, and how his support is seen as make-or-break for those seeking the party’s nomination.”
For much of the race, Vance lagged behind Mandel and Gibbons in polling. However, following Donald Trump’s (R) April 15 endorsement of his campaign, polls showed Vance in first place.
The Los Angeles Times’ Melanie Mason wrote Vance’s win will “add another notch to Trump’s tally of winners he’s endorsed — a favorite metric of his — and more broadly, reinforce that his influence remains strong in a state he won handily in both 2016 and 2020.”
In 2020, Trump defeated Joe Biden (D) in Ohio 53.3% to 45.2%. In 2016, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Ohio 51.7% to 43.6%.
Dolan was elected to the Ohio State Senate in 2016. He campaigned on “expanding workplace freedoms, cutting taxes and getting government out of the way of Ohio’s leading job creators,” and fighting “to secure the border with walls, surveillance, virtual capabilities and personnel.”
Gibbons, a businessman and investor, said his background in the private sector has prepared him for the U.S. Senate. Gibbons co-chaired former President Donald Trump’s (R) 2016 campaign in Ohio, and said “I don’t believe we had a president that did more for this country in my lifetime than Donald Trump did.”
Mandel served as Ohio Treasurer from 2011 to 2019. Mandel said “when I get to Washington, I’m not just going to drain the swamp, I’m going to blow up the swamp. And yes, I’ll be taking on the secular left, yes, I’ll be taking on the radical left. But with as much ferocity and strength and force, I’m going to take on the squishy establishment RINO Republicans,” a group he said included Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R), Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R), and Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R).
Timken served as the chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party from 2017 to 2021. Timken said her experience leading the Ohio Republican Party showed she could unite the party: “As soon as I became chair, I realized that I needed to bring people together. We had new Republicans that came into the party because of President Trump. We had some that drifted away. I successfully unified the party when I became chair, and so I have a real understanding of building a broad base and coalition of support.”
Neil Patel and Mark Pukita also ran in the primary.