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J.D. Vance and Tim Ryan to face off in Ohio's U.S. Senate race

Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance are set to race each other for the U.S. Senate seat in November.
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Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance are set to race each other for the U.S. Senate seat in November.

The stage is set for what could be a blockbuster U.S. Senate race between Republican J.D. Vance and Democrat Tim Ryan.

The two won their primaries by taking two very different paths. Now they'll be locked in a race that will likely be the most expensive in Ohio history, and is sure to gain national intrigue.

J.D. Vance took the stage in Cincinnati in front a crowd of his supporters to accept the Republican nomination after securing victory in his primary.

"I got to say, I thought this was going to feel good. It feels even better than I thought it would," said Vance.

Vance emerged from a fiery, tumultuous primary with six other Republican candidates. It was a race full of negative ads, mudslinging, and even some altercations on a debate stage.

All but one of the Republican candidates were vying for the support of President Donald Trump. With two weeks before the primary, Trump announced his endorsement of Vance – which likely gave him the edge over primary runner-up Josh Mandel.

Vance thanked his opponents, commended their campaigns, and called for unity.

"Now the party, that we need to unify to fight Tim Ryan, it's our Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen, it is the party of working people all across the state of Ohio. And it needs to fight. And it needs to win," Vance said.

Running in third place in the Republican primary, closely behind Mandel, was State Senator Matt Dolan. Dolan was the only candidate not going after Trump endorsement and positioning himself as a more traditional conservative.

In a statement, Dolan said he pledged to endorse Vance saying Ohio Republicans have spoken and "it's time to look forward." Mike Gibbons, Jane Timken, and Mandel also made similar statements on election night.

As Vance celebrated in Cincinnati, Tim Ryan delivered a victory speech in Columbus. He accepted the Democratic nomination in a race that was very different from the Republican primary.

Having raised $13 million and garnering the support of most high-profile Democratic leaders, Ryan was considered the frontrunner.

"We're trying to build a future for our kids. And it doesn't come from us hating each other. It doesn't come from us looking at each other and seeing a Democrat or seeing a Republican. It comes by us looking at each other and seeing Americans, fellow Americans," Ryan said.

Ryan faced Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson, two central Ohio community activists. In the end, Ryan received nearly 70% of the Democratic primary votes according to unofficial election results.

The Mahoning Valley congressman focused his campaign on broad appeal outside of just Democratic voters, hammering on trade and immigration. And it seems the fall campaign started the day before the primary, with Ryan releasing an ad that was more geared toward General Election voters.

"You want culture wars? I'm not your guy. You want a fighter for Ohio? I'm all in," Ryan said in the ad.

Though he faced criticism over some of his campaign rhetoric, Ryan did not back down from his stance on being tough on China over trade issues.

"Let's be honest, Tim Ryan. Look at his TV ads. Look at the things that he's doing, the guy is running as a Trump Democrat, right?" Vance said to laughter among his supporters. "Ladies and gentlemen, Tim Ryan needs to go down and we're going to be the party that does it."

The Republican primary became the most expensive in Ohio history at $65 million spent going into the last week of campaigning.

With the balance of the U.S. Senate at stake, the battle between Vance and Ryan is sure to rake in what could be record-breaking money going into November.

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