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Government/Politics

Big ad spending in Ohio's Republican U.S. Senate race going into final days before primary

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Tens of millions of dollars are pouring into Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senate race, which has tightened up with former president Trump’s endorsement of J.D. Vance, who had been trailing Josh Mandel and Mike Gibbons.

The Club for Growth and other pro-Mandel super PACS have spent nearly $14 million dollars. The pro-Vance super PAC Protect Ohio Values is on the air too, spending more than $9 million.

Kyle Kondik at Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia is watching all these ads.

“Combination of lots of outside spending and also lots of lots of fundraising and then also lots of self funding, particularly with Matt Dolan and Mike Gibbons, it adds up to tens of millions of dollars being spent just in this primary," Kondik said. "And also it's a very competitive race. We're still a few days away, and it still seems kind of unclear as to who is going to win.”

Kondik added the race could be a test of Trump's endorsements, since there's been pushback from some Republican and "tea party" groups against Trump's pick of Vance, who was on record with some anti-Trump comments before he launched his Senate campaign.

"Let's just say for the sake of argument, Vance wins like 25% of the vote. It may be that the Trump endorsement was worth, I don't know, ten points or something like that, which is pretty significant," Kondik said. "That also shows that not the whole Republican electorate is just moving because Trump told them to move to a certain candidate, because if that was true, you'd expect to get like 40% or 50% of the vote or something like that."

Mandel is spending $5.25 million and Vance is spending $1.65 million. Spending for Gibbons is almost $13 million, nearly all his campaign money and around three quarters of a million from a super PAC. Dolan is spending $8.5 million, with another $3 million in outside super PAC support. Jane Timken is spending $4.2 million, along with $1.5 million outside spending.

There hasn’t been much reliable polling in this race, but a recent Fox News Poll shows Vance overtaking Mandel for the lead, Dolan out of single digits and moving up on Gibbons, and Timken far behind.

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