Republican J.D. Vance won his Ohio Senate race against Democrat Tim Ryan on Tuesday night, handing Republicans a critical victory on what was otherwise an underwhelming evening for the party.
Vance’s win kept a path open for Republicans to a Senate majority that appeared to be slipping from their fingers by the end of the night.
J.D. Vance keeps Senate path open
A widely anticipated “red wave” had failed to appear by the time many election watchers went to bed, with Democrat John Fetterman, in a huge upset, picking up a Senate seat for his party in Pennsylvania.
As of Wednesday, Senate races in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia were left undecided. Republicans must win two of them to gain a narrow 51-seat majority, with Georgia heading to a runoff in December.
Vance’s win is a boost to Donald Trump, whose stature as the GOP’s leader came under attack throughout Tuesday evening as pundits on cable news and social media blamed him for the party’s failure to perform in pivotal contests.
Things went differently in Ohio, a Rust Belt state Trump won in both of his presidential races, with voters choosing Vance over his opponent by a comfortable margin.
Vance’s victory marks the completion of a remarkable personal journey for the venture capitalist, who vocally criticized Trump during his historic 2016 presidential campaign. Trump had endorsed the Hillbilly Elegy author despite his past criticism of Trump.
Victory for MAGA
As a Senate candidate, Vance embraced Trump and his “America First” agenda without reservation — and it paid off.
“I can’t thank President Trump enough for his support,” Vance said in a statement to Fox News.
“His endorsement and the work he did to drive turnout – including a huge rally in Dayton on election eve – made all the difference in this race, and led us to the largest battleground victory in the nation.”
Vance had focused on tying his opponent to the unpopular Joe Biden, while Ryan presented himself as an independent, moderate voice within the party. Vance also didn’t shy away from abortion, an issue that many say ended up giving Democrats a boost on Tuesday.
“I think it’s totally reasonable to say you cannot abort a baby, especially for elective reasons, after 15 weeks of gestation,” he said during a debate.