2022 Election

Trump plans to endorse JD Vance in crowded Ohio Senate race, sources say

Former President Donald Trump plans to endorse JD Vance in Ohio’s crowded Senate GOP primaryaccording to three sources with knowledge of his decision.

In recent days, Trump has begun calling donors and advisers for their opinions on endorsing the “Hillbilly Elegy” author, but he has come under intense pressure from campaigns against him. Republican Party leader. Josh Mandel and Jane Timken, sources said.

“The Mandels have succeeded,” a Republican knowledgeable about the discussions told NBC News, noting that the party’s House of Representatives Ohio Republican Jim Jordan tried to convince Trump to disapprove.

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The Beginner May 3 is the winner taking it all – that is, the candidate with the majority will stand in the general election in November.

Although Trump’s press outlet wrote to confirm Vance, a source close to Mandel’s campaign said on Thursday that it created a last-minute obstacle for the former president to consider: a meeting Internal Republican polls conducted by Mandel’s campaign put their candidate ahead with 33% of the vote, followed by Matt Dolan and Mike Gibbons with 15% together. Vance and Timken are tied at 9%.

The poll shows that, even with Trump’s endorsement, Vance has risen to 15% in support but remains in third place in second place, with Mandel leading slightly with 19% – an indication for find Trump’s endorsement weighty but not decisive.

A spokesman for Trump could not be reached for comment.

Trump has taken an interest in Vance, who harshly criticized the former president in 2016. Vance is also running in third or fourth place in the recent public poll and has barely reached two children. numbers – a big worry for Trump, who doesn’t want to waste his time, sources said.

Dolan is the only candidate running on a platform that doesn’t appear to have attracted the support of the former president. That has deeply preoccupied Trump and made him want to pick a winner to ensure that a non-Trump won’t win a state he won so easily in 2020 and 2016.

In the opinion poll, Mandel and Gibbons lead with about 20% of the vote each.

But Vance isn’t so far behind in the polls that he can’t keep up. And people who have spoken to Trump or his advisers in recent days say he sees the most opportunity to grow with Vance and an opportunity to make a real difference.

Former Trump campaigner and White House adviser Michael Caputo, who spoke with the former president recently, would not disclose the nature of his private discussion but said above Twitter that reports of Trump leaning towards Vance are “consistent with my conversations.”

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, a confidant of Trump, cabled Trump’s approval earlier in the day by saying above Twitter that “JD looks like a guy who’s going to break the organization, not join it.”

After NBC News reported that Trump plans to endorse Vance, a group of GOP officials in Ohio wrote a letter to Trump urging him to “disapprove of anyone in this race.” Local party officials have listed why they think Trump should decline to formally endorse Vance, citing among other things the candidate’s remarks about Trump in 2016.

Vance supporters, including the former president’s son and name, had hoped Trump would endorse Thursday, when his office announced that he would be holding a rally in Ohio on the 23rd. April, just 10 days before the primaries.

“Nothing is final until it is final. So Trump can always change his mind,” said a source who recently spoke to Trump about the Ohio race. “But he kicked everyone’s tires and he was ready to go with Vance. It’s Vance or nobody. And it would just be no one if somehow other campaigns could give him pause. “

A source familiar with Trump’s thinking said he also has a relationship with Timken, the former chair of the state’s GOP party, whom he helped take to power in Ohio in 2017 and that he considers her like an ally in the state.

There was a potential meeting this week for Timken at Mar-a-Lago, the source said, but those plans did not materialize as Trump publicly discussed his intentions to endorse Vance.

ADJUSTED (April 14, 2022, 6:13 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misrepresented Representative Jim Jordan’s participation in the Ohio Senate GOP primaries. He remains neutral; he didn’t endorse Josh Mandel.

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