Vance and Ryan win primary for U.S. Senate seat that could change balance of power

Republican businessman JD Vance and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland Twp., won their political party primaries for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, setting up a key General Election battle that could determine which party controls the senate.

Ryan, fresh from the win, made a victory lap in western Ohio on Wednesday, including stops in Dayton and Hamilton. Vance did not campaign Wednesday.

Ryan received nearly 70% of the Democratic vote, and Vance had over 32% of the Republican ballots, according to final, unofficial results reported by the Ohio Secretary of State.

The winner on Nov. 8 would fill the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati. Democrats currently control the evenly divided senate because Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, can cast a 51st deciding vote.

Ryan, a member of Congress representing a predominantly blue collar district since 2003, campaigned on a pro-worker platform and is critical of past trade deals and of China.

“I’ve got a long record of fighting for working class people,” Ryan said at a roundtable with retail workers held at the office of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75 in Dayton on Wednesday.

“I want Ohio to be the manufacturing powerhouse of the world. I want every company in the world when they think about how they want to build something, to make something that they want to come to Ohio,” Ryan said. “It’s chips, it’s electric vehicles, it’s batteries, it’s jet engines, it’s charging stations, it’s liquid natural gas out of eastern Ohio to ship to eastern Europe so that we can knock Putin’s legs out from under him.”



Ryan drew a contrast with Vance, who contends without evidence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from then-president Donald Trump, a view repudiated in multiple investigations, election audits and court rulings.

“People, if they want to talk about the past, China’s going to continue to eat our lunch. If you want to talk about the last election, if you want to try to undermine democracy, there’s absolutely no proof of that,” Ryan said. “And so let’s talk about the future and how we can build that together as Americans, not as Democrats and Republicans.”

Vance is a Cincinnati businessman, author and Middletown native who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

“Career politicians like Tim Ryan presided over the managed decline of our nation and are the reason why China is eating our lunch. JD is running to reverse this trend driven by our elite establishment,” said Taylor Van Kirk, Vance’s press secretary.

In his Tuesday victory speech, Vance said Republicans must unite to defeat Ryan, who he called a failure in Congress. But after complimenting his primary opponents, Vance spent much of the speech denouncing both Republicans and Democrats.

“If we we just did battle with the establishment right that has shifted American jobs overseas and flooded America’s borders with illegal aliens and fentanyl, we are going to do battle against an establishment left that thinks that people’s jobs, that think that people’s values, that think that people’s basic livelihoods and sense of dignity in their own country is not something worth protecting,” Vance said.

Credit: Josh Sweigart

Credit: Josh Sweigart

The other Republican primary candidates were former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel of Beachwood, who had nearly 24% of the vote; state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, with 23% of the votes; businessman Mike Gibbons of Fairview Park, more than 11% of ballots; former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken of Canton, nearly 6%; businessman Mark Pukita of Dublin, about 2%; and businessman Neil Patel of Westerville, just under 1%.

“Congratulations to JD Vance on winning a hard-fought primary,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik. “Ohio Republicans can be confident that they have chosen a battle-tested conservative fighter who will stop Joe Biden’s failed policies that are hurting Ohio’s workers and families. Ohio Republicans are ready to hit the ground running to ensure JD defeats Tim Ryan in November.”

Dolan, Mandel, Gibbons and Timken all issued statements saying they would support Vance.

“JD Vance and I have debated our differences, and in this hard fought campaign, he was successful,” Dolan said in a tweet. “Just as I will never quit fighting for Ohio, I now pledge to unite our party and endorse JDVance to be our next U.S. Senator.”

The other Democratic primary candidates are Columbus attorney Morgan Harper, who had nearly 18% of the vote, and businesswoman Traci “TJ” Johnson of Hilliard, who had more than 12%

“I just spoke with Congressman Ryan and congratulated him on his primary win,” Harper tweeted on Tuesday, also thanking her team and supporters.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters congratulated Ryan on his win.

“Tim understands that all work has dignity, and he has spent his career fighting for a fair shot for Ohio workers. As Ohio’s next U.S. Senator, Tim will keep working alongside (U.S. Sen.) Sherrod Brown to level the playing field and invest in our state so that we can out-compete China and create more opportunities for working families in every corner of our state — a far cry from any of the unaccountable and out of touch millionaires vying for the GOP nomination in this race,” Walters said.

“The stakes of this election could not be higher, and we look forward to doing all we can to flip this seat and send a second pro-worker champion to the Senate.”

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