Ohio’s open seat in the U.S. Senate remains in Republican hands after voters elected J.D. Vance over Democratic congressman Tim Ryan.
Vance had 53% of the vote and Ryan had 47% of the more than 4 million Ohioans who voted in the race, according to final unofficial results reported by the Ohio Secretary of State.
Vance will take the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is retiring. Ohio’s other senate seat is held by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
“Whether you voted for me or not, the thing I promise to do is go to the United States Senate and fight every single day for the people of Ohio,” Vance said in his victory speech at the Ohio Republican Party’s election night event in Columbus.
In his short speech he didn’t delve into policy specifics, but promised to help workers, opioid addicts and single mothers.
His campaign spokesman declined further comment.
Vance of Cincinnati is a Middletown native, author of Hillbilly Elegy and co-founder of Narya, a venture capital firm in Cincinnati. Endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Vance’s race for senate was his first bid for political office.
Ryan, of Trumbull County, has been in the U.S. House of Representatives for 19 years and ran in the Democratic Party presidential primary, withdrawing in October 2019.
Ryan did not stand for re-election to the House so his loss on Tuesday means his term in Congress ends this year but he said the challenges the country faces are great and he and his family “will continue to be in this fight.”
“When I called J.D. to concede I told him, ‘You have got to take care of the working class people in this country because the working class people have been forgotten,’” Ryan said.
In his concession speech on Tuesday Ryan called for an end to political extremism and addressed the fact that Vance, Trump and multiple Republican candidates on the Tuesday ballot nationwide promote the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump by widespread fraud.
“The way this country operates is that when you lose the election you concede and you respect the will of the people. We can’t have a system where if you win it’s a legitimate election and if you lose someone stole it,” Ryan said.
“I am concerned that this country, as we move forward it may get worse before it gets better,” Ryan added. “But we need good people who are going to honor the institutions of this country.”
Political analysts saw the race is one of the most consequential in the country as the two candidates sought a relatively rare open seat in an evenly divided Senate.
In his campaign Vance worked to link Ryan to President Joe Biden saying Ryan had “rubber stamped Joe Biden’s leftist schemes.” Vance also said they had failed to protect the southern border and allowed drugs into the U.S.
Vance called for tax cuts and regulatory reform and more energy drilling and pipelines. He opposes gun law reform. Vance said states should decide on the legality of abortion, but supports a national abortion ban starting at a minimum of 15 weeks, except to save the life of the mother.
Ryan outraised Vance but Vance benefitted from more than $30 million in campaign advertising from the Senate Leadership Fund PAC connected with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY.
Ryan campaigned on “workers first” issues, saying that more needed to be done to bring jobs back to the U.S. and improve education and workforce training. He wants a middle class tax cut to help ease the impact of inflation and said the abortion rights provisions in the overturned Roe v. Wade case should be codified into law.
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