Trump-backed J.D. Vance projected winner in tumultuous Senate GOP primary showdown in Ohio

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Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio wins Democratic Senate primary, GOP Gov. Mike DeWine wins renomination – according to AP projections

CINCINNATI  – J.D. Vance, the venture capitalist and bestselling author who less than three weeks ago landed former President Donald Trump’s endorsement in Ohio’s crowded, combustible and expensive Republican Senate primary, has won his party’s nomination.

The Associated Press projected Vance’s victory in Ohio, which along with the neighboring Midwestern state of Indiana held primary elections on Tuesday, kicking off a frenetic schedule this month, with a total of 13 states holding primaries. 

Vance’s win is also seen as a victory for the former president, as Trump’s position as the Republican Party’s most popular and influential politician was on the line even though the former president wasn’t on the ballot.

In his victory speech at his primary night headquarters in Cincinnati, Vance gave a major nod to Trump, saying “I have absolutely got to thank the 45th President of the United States.”

Vance will face off in November against longtime Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan. Less than half an hour after the 7:30pm ET poll closing in Ohio, the AP projected Ryan’s victory, and few minutes later projected that Republican Gov. Mike DeWine would win renomination over multiple primary challengers from the right.

But the GOP primary in the showdown to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman was the contest that grabbed national attention.

The race for well over a year had been a battle among the major contenders to land the endorsement of Trump, who 15 months removed from the White House remains a GOP primary kingmaker as he repeatedly flirts with another presidential run.

As the leading candidates tried to one-up each other in showcasing their support and loyalty to Trump, the nomination battle turned increasingly antagonistic. Things got so heated that two leading contenders – 2018 Ohio Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, a Cleveland entrepreneur, real estate developer and investment banker, and former Ohio treasurer and former two-time Senate candidate Josh Mandel – nearly came to blows at a debate.

By Tyler Olson and Paul Steinhauser

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