Donald Trump endorses J.D. Vance in Ohio's U.S. Senate race
In what could be a pivotal moment for a candidate to stand out in a crowded field, former President Donald Trump has endorsed U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance as he runs for the Republican nomination in Ohio.
Trump made the announcement in a written statement Friday afternoon. He emphasized the importance for Republicans to win in November's midterm elections saying it would deliver a "devastating rebuke" of President Joe Biden's time in office.
"In the Great State of Ohio, the candidate most qualified and ready to win in November is J.D. Vance. We cannot play games. It is all about winning!" Trump wrote.
He acknowledged the previous comments and criticisms Vance had made about Trump while he was running for president in 2016.
"Like some others, J.D. Vance may have said some not so great things about me in the past, but he gets it now, and I have seen that in spades," wrote Trump.
The endorsement caps a long, drawn-out fight among the Republican Senate candidates to win Trump's support.
Vance, a venture capitalist and author, had been vying for Trump's endorsement along with fellow candidates; former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, and businessman Mike Gibbons.
Bernie Moreno dropped out of the Senate race in February after meeting with Trump. He said, "we both agreed this race has too many Trump candidates and could cost the MAGA movement a conservative seat."
The only Republican U.S. Senate candidate to not actively seek Trump's endorsement was state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls).
The Ohio Democratic Party released a statement shortly after Vance's endorsement was announced. Michael Beyer, party spokesperson, called the Republican primary one of the "nastiest and most expensive Senate races" in the country.
"Trump's endorsement will only pour gasoline on this intraparty brawl and make it even harder for Republicans to coalesce around whatever out-of-touch millionaire hobbles out of this chaotic primary," Beyer wrote.
Trump's announcement was made just more than a week out from a scheduled rally in Delaware County, where he is expected to appear with several Republican candidates running on the May 3 primary ballot.