Top conservative group shoots Trump as Ohio Senate primary escalates into GOP civil war

Republican Senate nominee JD Vance, whom former President Donald Trump has endorsed in the upcoming primary, shakes hands with Trump during an event at the County Fair in Delaware, Ohio. (Galen Morse/Reuters)

The Growth Club, long considered one of the most powerful groups in Republican politics, is sticking to its pick in a messy GOP Senate primary in Ohio despite attacks from Trump’s top allies backing the rival candidate.

The anti-tax organization, which is backing former state treasurer Josh Mandel in the contest, has begun airing new ads directly targeting former President Trump’s support for venture capitalist J.D. Vance. Trump backed Vance, author of The Village Elegy, despite Vance’s previous criticism of Trump.

In the new ad, actors posing as Ohio voters are shown old footage of Vance punching Trump. One clip shows Vance declaring himself “the guy who never supports Trump,” a label used by Republicans who refused to support Trump in 2016 and 2020. In another clip, Vance suggests he might vote for Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in 2016. .

“Did Trump see this?” asks one of the actors in the commercial after viewing the footage, and later says of Vance, “Why is he saying that?”

Another actor says, “We have our own eyes and our own ears.”

The ad also mentions Trump’s support for Mitt Romney, with the actress dismissively remarking, “How did that happen?” Romney, now a Republican senator from Utah, has since become Trump’s leading critic in the Republican Party and twice voted to impeach Trump.

“Look, I love Trump, but he gets it wrong with JD Vance too,” says another actor.

this is not the first Growth Club advertisement highlighting Vance’s past statements. Trump at the end of last year reportedly asked the group to stop running ads — including calling Trump “idiot,” “harmful,” and “offensive,” for fear that it would hurt Trump’s popularity in the state.

Club for Growth spent $71 million supports Republican candidates in the 2020 election and has so far raised $38 million for the 2022 midterms by spending $13 million. For his part, Vance has become a staunch Trump supporter in recent years and is a regular guest on Tucker Carlson’s primetime Fox News Channel.

According to the New York TimesTrump expected the Club’s media campaign to end as soon as he endorsed Vance, but as the attacks continued, Trump ordered his aide to send to group president David McIntosh angry and abusive text message.

In reply, This was reported to Politico by a representative of the group. that the group was buying more advertising time in support of Mandel. The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has since attacked both Mandel and the Growth Club. many times on twitter.

Although the Growth Club ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries, they quickly fell behind him after he won the presidency and backed him for re-election in 2020. Trump and the Club are backing many of the same candidates in this year’s Republican primary. , a fact Mackintosh tried to highlight in the New York Times.

“I see it as one race where we’re not aligned, we’re on opposite sides, which doesn’t happen often,” he told the paper.

Trump’s support appears to be paying off in a crowded Ohio primary that includes a number of other candidates besides Vance and Mandel. BUT Fox News Poll Released Tuesday showed Vance leading the race with 23 percent support compared to Mandel’s 18 percent.

Republican Senate Candidate Josh Mandel Speaks At A Campaign Event Ahead Of Next Month'S Primary In Cortland, Ohio.  (Galen Morse/Reuters)Republican Senate Candidate Josh Mandel Speaks At A Campaign Event Ahead Of Next Month'S Primary In Cortland, Ohio.  (Galen Morse/Reuters)

Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel speaks at a campaign event ahead of next month’s primary in Cortland, Ohio. (Galen Morse/Reuters)

The primaries will be held on May 3rd. The winner is expected to compete against likely Democratic nominee Tim Ryan in the November general election.

Trump won Ohio in 2016 and 2020 by eight points. Cook’s non-partisan political report currently predicts that the Republican candidate will have the upper hand in the general election.

Trump’s endorsement of Vance on April 15 rattled many Republicans in Ohio, who are backing other candidates in the race to replace outgoing GOP Senator Rob Portman. The former president held a rally with Vance on Saturday night to explain his support.

“This is the guy who said mean things about me,” Trump said of Vance. “If I followed that standard, I don’t think I would ever support anyone in the country.”