There Was No Good Outcome In The Ohio GOP Primary Yesterday-- But Vance Was The Worst
It was a day like this and my house burnt down
And the walls were thin and they crashed to the ground
It was a day like this and my life unwound
You could've struck me a line and that's okay now
We could always put it together again
You could've told me a lie, and a lie so thin, so thin
Now everything's clear
Day after day and the life goes on
And I try to see the good in everyone
If I ever find myself here again
I'll give everything
In Ohio's GOP primaries last night, Trump would have loved to have seen mainstream conservative Governor Mike DeWine defeated by almost-billionaire Jim Renacci, a fascist and MAGA-nut. But Renacci, despite the self-funding, never had a chance and Trump, seeking to keep his "win record" looking good, didn't endorse him. Nor did Trump endorse MAGA freak Patrick Awtrey-- a self-proclaimed "distant relative of Gene Autry"-- against Rep. David Joyce (a coup opponent)... because Awtrey had absolutely no chance to win. Renacci only managed to grab 28% of the vote against DeWine and Awtrey walked away with 16%. Next door in Indiana, Senator Todd Young was the only GOP incumbent Trump didn't endorse. A non-MAGA conservative, Young had no MAGA-recruited opponent in yesterday's primary.
Trump will boast about his high number of wins yesterday, but most of his "winners," like Gym Jordan, had no opponents. Trump did make the difference in one race for sure, the most important one of all: the Ohio Senate primary, where Trump-endorsed JD Vance came in first (with 95% of precincts counted):
JD Vance- 340,991 (32.2%)
Josh Mandel- 253,051 (23.9%)
Matt Dolan- 247,042 (23.3%)
Mike Gibbons- 123,417 (11.7%)
Jane Timken- 62,237 (5.9%)
Trump may be the face of the Vance win, but German-born, South Africa-raised neo-Nazi gay billionaire Peter Thiel was why Vance won and why he is almost sure to be a senator in January. Not counting the unreported bribe Thiel gave Trump for the endorsement, Thiel put $15 million into Vance's primary-- "the largest amount ever given to boost a single Senate candidate"-- 10% of which came in the last week. He got Trump to endorse a guy who once famously tweeted "What percentage of the American population has @RealDonaldTrump sexually assaulted?"
Thiel's superPAC, reported Alex Isenstadt yesterday, "took on the responsibilities typically overseen by campaigns: It built out an extensive data operation, sent text messages to supporters encouraging them to attend Vance’s events, and hosted tele-town hall events the candidate participated in." Thiel also put together the opposition research component of the campaign, a very shady operation that skirted the law prohibiting coordination between PACs and campaigns.
Isenstadt noted that anti-Trump statements from Vance "were the kind of statements that typically infuriated Trump, and that led Vance to try to soothe the former president during a spring 2021 meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. During the sit-down, which was chaperoned by Thiel and also attended by Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., Vance argued that he was aligned with Trump on the populist issues the former president cared about. The candidate took other steps to win over Trump, including befriending his eldest son, who would become Vance’s closest ally in the former president’s orbit."
By the fall, Vance’s poll numbers were on the rise, and it appeared there was a thaw in the relationship between Trump and Vance. But Vance was soon dealt a setback when the Club for Growth, which was backing Vance rival Josh Mandel, pulverized him with TV ads highlighting his past anti-Trump remarks.
Trump appeared to cool on the candidate.
While he “really liked J.D.,” Trump told friends, the “Club ads” just “killed him dead.”
...While Vance’s opponents flooded the TV airwaves with millions of dollars in commercials, the more cash-strapped Vance generated free media attention for himself by running as a fire-breathing, controversy-embracing populist. The candidate took to conservative outlets like Breitbart News, Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, and Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. He declared that Mexican drug cartels should be labeled “terrorist organizations,” called for “mass civil disobedience” in response to vaccine requirements and argued against American involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Vance’s position on Ukraine turned off donors and cut against popular opinion that backed aiding the country’s fight against Russian aggression with supplies, if not with American troops. But the candidate made up for it with loads of media attention. According to media tracking information, Vance has been mentioned on broadcast TV stations more than 7,200 times since June 1, 2021, more than twice as much as his nearest rival, Mandel.
The bomb-throwing rhetoric was also about repositioning himself as a conservative after being tagged as anti-Trump.
...As winter turned to spring, the race for Trump’s endorsement accelerated-- and just about everyone involved in the primary knew it would likely decide the eventual nominee.
While Trump was aware of Vance’s past condemnations, he was hearing from allies including Carlson and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley who encouraged him to get behind the candidate. And he had recently seen Vance playing golf at Mar-a-Lago, where he complimented the candidate on his swing and his personal appearance. But for the TV-obsessed Trump, it was Vance’s performance in the debates that led the former president to endorse his onetime critic.
Trump had met with Mandel and investment banker Mike Gibbons, among other candidates in the field. But he was repulsed when he was shown a clip of the two nearly coming to blows during a March forum. After watching one of later debates in full, the president told advisers he was unimpressed with all of those running, except for Vance.
Last night, the Democrats nominated the perfect candidate-- for Vance. Tim Ryan has no chance of winning any votes other than the shrinking base of Democratic Party loyalists. Last night 1,059,113 Republicans voted in the Senate primary. 510,362 voted in the Democratic primary. Tim Ryan is the latest face of a dysfunctional-- if not moribund-- Ohio Democratic Party and of the state's crumbled-to-dust Democratic establishment. There couldn't be a worse candidate to put up against Vance. This is a good ad he put up this morning but Ryan will be lucky if he does as well as the last garbage candidate the Ohio Democratic party put up to run for Senate, Ted Strickland, who lost ingloriously with 37% of the vote. It won't surprise me one bit if Ryan does even worse.