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Trump’s Influence Was on Display in Ohio Primaries as JD Vance Cleaned Up

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04.05.2022

Tuesday’s primary elections in Ohio resulted in Trump-backed candidate J.D. Vance securing the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat left open by Sen. Rob Portman’s decision to retire.

In a race with four candidates polling in double digits and several minor candidates between them splitting the remaining vote, Vance pulled ahead in the final days. At the end of the day, he ended up with slightly over 340,000 votes, representing 32.2 percent of the total number of GOP primary votes in the state.

Vance’s emergence as a Trump-world star was a long time coming. In 2016, Vance — the author of Hillbilly Elegy, a best-selling memoir about growing up poor in Kentucky that, among other motifs, trafficked in right-wing themes about “welfare queens” — was widely quoted as lambasting Donald Trump. At that time Vance called Trump “noxious” and “reprehensible,” and cast himself firmly as a “Never Trumper.”

Four years later, in 2020, Vance had undergone a metamorphosis. He now supported Trump’s reelection efforts, and in a series of groveling U-turns, averred that the MAGA leader was the best president in his lifetime.

By the time Vance got to running in the Republican primary to become the party’s nominee for the open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio this year, he was a dyed-in-the-wool Trumpite — a believer in every wacky conspiracy theory that Trump pushed about stolen elections, “invasions” of the country by “illegal” immigrants, Chinese plots to take over the world, and so on.

Trump took note, and in a crowded primary field, he went out on a limb and endorsed Vance, his one-time antagonist — though at a rally shortly before primary day, he mangled Vance’s name, conflating it with that of his protégé’s leading rival. In throwing his considerable political weight behind Vance, the former president, who has spent the past 16 months cultivating a shadow-GOP structure out of his Mar-a-Lago refuge, quite deliberately snubbed candidates like Josh Mandel, who were endorsed........

© Truthout


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