Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is throwing his support behind venture capitalist J.D. Vance in the competitive Ohio Senate race as a number of Republicans jockey for the seat being vacated by Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Overnight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE (R).
Banks, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told Axios that Vance “isn't afraid to stand up to the woke elites and will always put middle- and working-class Ohioans first.”
Former Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, businessman Bernie Moreno and former Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken are all also running to be the Republican nominee for the upper chamber in 2022.
Mandel reportedly holds a lead in the primary polls, according to recent internal surveys reviewed by Axios, but Vance’s positioning has increased among the five candidates.
Tony Fabrizio, who has been conducting polling for Vance’s super PAC, wrote in a memo to the committee that his July survey of 800 likely Ohio GOP primary voters found that Vance has 12 percent support, which was up from his 4 percent in June and 6 percent in April, Axios reported.
Vance, however, is still tracking far lower than Mandel in the polls, even though the support for the latter has slipped in recent months. Mandel attracted 21 percent support in July, after receiving 22 percent in June and 25 percent in April.
Vance has had to overcome one particularly large obstacle throughout the campaign: his previous comments criticizing former President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE.
Vance criticized Trump on Twitter in 2016, saying he would not vote for the then-Republican nominee and instead opt for independent candidate Evan McMullin. At one point, Vance called Trump “reprehensible,” according to deleted tweets discovered by CNN.
Vance last month said he regrets posting those tweets, contending that he was “wrong about the guy.”
“I think he was a good president, I think he made a lot of good decisions for people, and I think he took a lot of flak,” Vance said.
The primary race in Ohio has become somewhat of a competition for Trump’s support, with the candidates working to prove their allegiance to the former president and in turn win the backing of his followers.
Axios noted that Vance has been receiving positive coverage from conservative media outlets, which may be bolstering his support.