ROUNDUP: The #OHSEN GOP Primary Just Got More Crazy, Nasty, And Expensive
October 25, 2021
Columbus, OH — This weekend, the Ohio GOP Senate primary got more crazy, nasty, and expensive with new attack ads and pathetic lows from the out-of-touch millionaires. And we learned Ohio is the third-most-expensive Senate primary in the country.
On Saturday, Mandel allies, USA Freedom Fund and Club for Growth Action, launched two ads worth nearly a $1 million ad buy hitting Vance for his past anti-Trump statements that illustrate just how much of a fraud he is. This follows USA Freedom Fund creating websites attacking J.D. Vance and Jane Timken.
Ohio’s GOP Senate primary is expensive because of the large amount of self-funding millionaires in the race. Three multi-millionaires – Bernie Moreno, Jane Timken, and Mike Gibbons – have collectively put nearly $13 million into their own campaigns. With $22.5 million raised, these candidates have plenty in their war chests to launch attacks against their fellow millionaires. And it’s clear this crowded primary is getting more crazy, nasty, and expensive by the day.
“With more than six months until the GOP Senate primary, the out-of-touch millionaires are doing everything they can to make this primary crazier, nastier, and more expensive. They’re turning off Ohio voters with each day they continue to make their campaigns about their petty feuds rather than the issues Ohioans care about,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
October 25, 2021
- J.D. Vance is running for the GOP nomination for Senate in Ohio, but he has a problem: He has criticized Donald Trump, which for many GOP primary voters is immediately disqualifying. So he’s atoning for his heresies by positioning himself as the true keeper of the flame of Trumpism.
- All this arises from a remarkable new Politico report on the battling between Vance and the leading contender for the nomination, former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel. This war is all about who is more slavishly loyal to Trump and his legacy.
- Two super PACs supporting Mandel have launched nearly $1 million in ads hammering Vance’s past criticism of Trump. These include Vance’s admission that he didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, and Vance’s descriptions of Trump as “noxious,” “reprehensible” and “an idiot.”
- Vance has groveled for forgiveness for his anti-Trump apostasy, but those quotes live on. So he’s now arguing that he’s much more faithful to the ideology of Trumpism than Mandel is.
October 23, 2021
- Two super PACs have launched a nearly $1 million coordinated ad buy attacking “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance in Ohio, aiming to tear him down for his previous opposition to Donald Trump.
- Club for Growth Action and USA Freedom Fund, both of which back former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, are each spending $470,000 to make Republican primary voters aware of Vance’s harsh rhetoric toward the former president. Vance has publicly said he did not cast a vote for Trump in the 2016 election.
- In a contentious Republican primary that hinges on loyalty to Trump, Mandel for months has been on the attack against Vance.
- “I’m a Never Trump guy,” Vance said in an interview with Charlie Rose in 2016, a clip used in both the new ads. “I never liked him.”
- Both ads also feature a screenshot of a Vance tweet from October 2016. “My god what an idiot,” he wrote, referring to Trump.
- Vance expressed a similar sentiment in other interviews and since-deleted tweets from that time, including publicly mulling the idea of supporting Hillary Clinton, calling Trump “noxious” and “reprehensible.”
- The ads will play back those comments to viewers watching NFL and NCAA games in the Cincinnati television market, with a smaller buy on Fox News and a corresponding radio spot.
October 23, 2021
- Thanks to a rare mix of factors – an open seat, several independently wealthy candidates funding their campaigns and one billionaire super donor — Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senate primary stands out as one of the costliest elections in America.
- With more than six months before the May primary, Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senate candidates had spent $9.5 million, the third-most of any partisan Senate primary in the country for the 2022 election cycle, according to data compiled by Political Moneyline, a campaign finance data service. The Buckeye State ranks just below Georgia’s Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate races, which are inflated compared to any other state thanks to a consequential January special election that gave control of the Senate to Democrats.
- In terms of fundraising, Ohio’s GOP Senate candidates have raised the third-most of any primary nationally, bringing in $22.5 million, ranking below Georgia and New York Democrats, where Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is the Senate majority leader, responsible for raising money for the entire Democratic caucus. Adding in Democratic candidates Rep. Tim Ryan and Morgan Harper, Ohio Senate candidates have raised $28.6 million, again ranking only below Georgia.
- Ohio’s number doesn’t even include the $10 million a Super PAC backing one of the candidates, Republican Senate candidates, JD Vance, received from Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who funds libertarian and right-wing nationalist political causes. Counting their affiliated committees and PACs, the Republican candidates are sitting on more than $27 million heading into the final six months before the election.
- When only counting outside individual donations, though, the Ohio Republican primary ranks much lower (14th nationally). That’s because candidates Mike Gibbons ($7.9 million), Bernie Moreno ($3 million) and Jane Timken ($2 million) cumulatively put nearly $13 million of their personal fortunes into their campaigns.
- Two groups backing Mandel — Freedom Partners USA, a dark-money political group indirectly set up by Mandel campaign aides, and Club for Growth, a Washington, D.C. anti-tax organization — this week reserved $825,000 in campaign commercials airing in Cincinnati between Oct. 23 and Nov. 19, according to Medium Buying, a Columbus political advertising firm. The ads attack Vance for his past anti-Trump statements, according to Politico.
- And starting Friday, Timken launched her first TV commercials since April, reserving $564,000 in ads on Fox News that will run through Dec. 16, according to Medium Buying.
- That’s where the $10 million comes in that Thiel gave his [Vance’s] affiliated super PAC. The PAC, Protect Ohio Values, also got $150,000 from Rebekah and Robert Mercer. Like Thiel, the Mercers are billionaires known for funding right-wing, nationalist political causes. And Thiel is the largest Super PAC donor in the country for the 2022 election, according to Political Moneyline, having also given $10 million to Blake Masters, an executive at his venture capital firm running for Senate in Arizona on a similar platform as Vance.
- USA Freedom Fund has shown signs of serving as a campaign attack dog for Mandel. The group has disclosed spending around $173,000 on ads. That includes political mailers support Mandel and attacking Moreno, Timken and Vance, and TV ads in April that boosted Mandel while attacking the other candidates. It doesn’t include the $445,000 worth it has scheduled to air soon.
- The group also registered two websites attacking Timken and Vance, which the mailers promote. The anti-Timken site includes misleading references to outsourcing performed by Timken Co, a company formerly run by Timken’s husband. And the anti-Vance site lists some of the numerous past statements Vance made attacking former President Donald Trump.
- Also like Gibbons, Timken is self-funding her campaign, although not to the same degree. Part of the politically connected Timken family in Canton, she’s loaned herself $2 million. But she’s also has raised $3.2 million in donations, including those from an affiliated campaign committee.
- Moreno, a Cleveland luxury car dealer and entrepreneur, is the third self-funder in the race. He loaned himself $3 million, adding to the $2.8 million he’s raised from individual donors.