Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, who won a tight race in November to replace retiring Sen. Ron Portman after receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, returned the favor Tuesday by supporting Trump in the 2024 presidential race.
"The simple fact is Donald Trump's policies were incredibly good for this country and he's very popular among Republican voters," The Hill reported Vance telling radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.
"In Ohio Republican circles, I'd say well over half the people in our party want Trump to run and will vote for him in the primary if he does. I'm planning to support the [former] president in '24. I'm actually going to have an article come out here in the next couple of days that explains why."
According to the report, Vance, who has called Trump "the best president of my lifetime," said Trump believes he has earned the right to serve as president again and that "Republican voters, a lot of them are on his side."
Trump's endorsement in April was heavily sought by Republican candidates in the GOP primary election, including former Ohio state GOP Chair Jane Timken and businessman Mike Gibbons, as they tried to position themselves as the most "pro-Trump," according to NPR at the time.
Although Vance was critical of Trump during the 2016 campaign, the author of the best-selling "Hillbilly Elegy" memoir won the prized endorsement of the former president.
"Like some others, J.D. Vance may have said some not-so-great things about me in the past, but he gets it now, and I have seen that in spades," Trump said in his statement in April 2022. "He is our best chance for victory in what could be a very tough race."
At the time Trump said he felt Vance had the best chance to defeat Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat.
"I've studied this race closely," Trump, who won the state twice in his presidential runs, said in his statement, "and I think J.D. is the most likely to take out the weak, but dangerous, Democrat opponent."
According to the New York Times in December 2022, Trump had an 82% success rate with the 250 candidates he endorsed in the election cycle.
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