Author J.D. Vance won a crowded Republican Senate primary in Ohio on Tuesday, in a race that was viewed as a test of former President Donald Trump’s continued influence on the GOP.
The Associated Press called the heated race in favor of the “Hillbilly Elegy” scribe at 9:35 p.m., as Vance jumped out to a lead over six other candidates vying for the nomination.
Vance, 37, had previously criticized Trump in 2016 but softened his stance and embraced the 45th president on the campaign trail. Last month, Trump endorsed Vance, which gave him a boost in polls pundits called “The Trump Bump.”
The first-time candidate’s poll numbers jumped by 12 percentage points pushing him ahead of the previous frontrunner, former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel, according to a Fox News poll released last week.
Also running in the primary were investment banker Mike Gibbons, former state GOP leader Jane Timken and former Rep. Matt Dolan — the only candidate who didn’t actively seek Trump’s endorsement.
Vance’s win sets up an election showdown with US Rep. Tim Ryan, who won a three-way Democratic Party primary for the Senate seat on Tuesday.
The GOP is favored to hold onto the seat in Ohio, a longtime swing state that has been growing reliably red. The winner of the general election will replace Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who is set to retire.