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Vance, who trailed other candidates for much of the campaign, surged late after former President Donald Trump endorsed him. The Associated Press called the race shortly after 9:30 p.m., with Vance maintaining about a 30% share of votes in the seven-way primary. There is no runoff.
“We’re going to do battle against an establishment left that thinks that people’s jobs, that thinks that people’s values, that thinks that people’s basic livelihoods and sense of dignity in their own country is not something worth protecting,” Vance told supporters in his victory speech at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati.
Ohio Republican Senate nominee J.D. Vance speaks to supporters after winning a contentious and expensive primary, in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 3, 2022. (Tyler Olson/Fox News) (Fox News )
The mood at the event was lively, with attendees dancing and chatting while a DJ played primarily 80s hits. When Vance officially won, cheers reverberated through the convention center, well beyond the room Vance’s event was staged in.
Supporters also chanted “J.D., J.D.,” as they waited for him to speak.
When Vance eventually took the stage, he did so alongside his wife and shot the crowd a big thumbs up.
“I have absolutely got to thank the 45th, the president United States,” Vance said early in his remarks, referring to Trump, whose endorsement is likely largely responsible for Vance’s win.
Senate candidate JD Vance, left, greets former President Donald Trump at a rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Delaware, Ohio, to endorse Republican candidates ahead of the Ohio primary on May 3. (AP Photo/Joe Maiorana, File) (AP)
Vance continued to call for party unity after what was an extremely expensive and contentious primary campaign that cost more than $63 million, according to Medium Buying.
He praised all four of his major primary opponents, including former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, state Sen. Matt Dolan, investment banker Mike Gibbons and former state Treasurer Josh Mandel.
Vance’s supporters started to boo Mandel when the nominee mentioned him, but Vance told them to settle down. He praised Mandel as a “longtime and dedicated public servant from the Marine Corps to the state treasurer’s office.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, appears at a rally with union workers on the eve of the state’s primary elections on May 2, 2022. Ryan is widely considered the Democratic frontrunner for Senate. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)
Vance then turned to Ryan, D-Ohio, and Democrats, who he said are a threat to Americans’ way of life.
“He says that he cares about us here in Ohio,” Vance said of Ryan. “But he refuses to fight his own party when they have flooded the state of Ohio with illegal drugs and sex traffickers. Ladies and gentlemen, Tim Ryan needs to go down, and we’re going to be the party that does that.”
Vance, who would be the second-youngest senator if elected, closed his speech on a lighthearted note.
“So tonight we’re gonna celebrate, maybe a little too much,” Vance quipped at the end of his speech. “I’m 37-years-old, I’ve got my celebration packet, a pack of Gatorade, a couple Advil and some Tums. I’m not the same man I was 10 years ago.”