By: Sophie Boulter, World News Editor
Former president Donald Trump endorsed Hillbilly Elegy author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance for the open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio.
The coveted endorsement, which comes just three weeks before the May 3 primary and after two weeks of early voting, comes as Vance has stalled in the polls.
“I’ve studied this race closely and I think J.D. is the most likely to take out the weak, but dangerous, Democrat opponent — dangerous because they will have so much money to spend,” Trump said. “However, J.D. will destroy him in the debates and will fight for the MAGA Movement in the Senate.”
Vance is competing against a number of candidates, including former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, investment banker Mike Gibbons, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, and State Senator Matt Dolan.
In a letter signed by three dozen Republican party leaders, the group urged Trump not to endorse Vance. They noted that Vance had been critical of Trump as recently as 2016. During the 2016 presidential race, Vance referred to himself as a “Never Trump guy.”
“I continue to be a proud supporter of President Trump and the America First agenda,” Mandel said. “I look forward to earning his endorsement in the general election and working with him to defeat Tim Ryan in November.”
The election is on May 3, but early voting is currently underway. The winner of the Republican primary will face either U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), attorney Morgan Harper or tech executive Traci Johnson.