ROUNDUP: Where, Oh Where, Is J.D. Vance?
July 27, 2022
Columbus, OH – A slew of brutal new reports show Ohio Republicans are wondering where J.D. Vance is and hammering him for his terrible fundraising.
Nearly three months into the general election, Ohio Republicans are still “waiting for Vance to show up,” and frustrated that “he’s not campaigning hard enough.” One GOP source told Daily Beast that “When the fundraising numbers came out, it’s full-on panic now.”
Ron Verb, a conservative talk radio host, offered Vance this advice that he “better get off his ass, figure out why he isn’t raising more money, why the Republican Party isn’t behind him raising money.” Yikes, the calls are coming from inside the house.
“J.D. Vance is hiding from Ohioans because he feels ‘out of place’ in the state and can’t answer for his sham nonprofit, defend his toxic position that survivors of rape and incest should be forced to give birth, or explain why he thinks that women should stay in ‘violent’ marriages. San Francisco Vance may be afraid to talk about his out-of-touch positions on the campaign trail but Ohioans won’t be fooled by the Buckeye State’s biggest fraud,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Read more below:
WOSU: Where have you gone J.D. Vance?
- Democrat Tim Ryan has maintained a high-profile presence in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race since the May primary, while the Republican nominee J.D. Vance has been laying low.
- Vance, the Trump-endorsed venture capitalist and best-selling author, has basically disappeared from public view since his May primary win. There have been no big campaign events, no TV commercials and hardly a media appearance.
WOSU: J.D. Vance’s Campaign Vacation
Columbus On The Record
July 22, 2022
- Mike Thompson, HOST: J.D. Vance is laying very low. We really have not seen him. No major campaign events, no TV ads, and it turns out he’s not raising that much money…
Cincinnati Enquirer: Where in the world is J.D. Vance? Not on the Ohio Senate campaign trail, critics say
July 25, 2022
- U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance didn’t attend Gov. Mike DeWine’s ice cream social in June.
- A conservative radio host wanted to know why.
- “I love ice cream, and I’m a supporter of Mike DeWine, so it was nothing against him,” Vance told Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham. “Just had other things to do.”
- Vance walked in Fourth of July parades and met with Ohio law enforcement in recent months. But members of his own party have become increasingly concerned that he’s not campaigning hard enough, while his opponent – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan – dominates the airwaves and holds events across the state.
- That, coupled with Ryan’s fundraising advantage, has some Republicans worried the race could be closer than expected in a political climate that favors the GOP.
- “As I’ve said before, with polling numbers indicating a historic GOP wave in 2022, if a statewide Republican candidate in Ohio loses the general election in this environment, it’s their own damn fault,” said Mike Hartley, a Republican strategist in Ohio.
- Youngstown radio host Ron Verb fielded calls from listeners in June who wondered why they weren’t seeing Vance ads and worried he could lose the race. Verb implored the candidate to “get off his a– and get moving.”
- Vance later appeared on the show and told Verb his campaign had to recover from a bruising GOP primary, while Ryan raised enough to continue seamlessly into the general election cycle.
- “J.D. Vance is a fraud, and his refusal to talk to Ohioans – whether it’s because he’s too scared to answer for his record of investing in companies that profited from outsourcing and globalization, or because he’s too lazy to do the hard work of campaigning – is an insult to the people of this state,” Ryan spokeswoman Jordan Fuja said.
- If candidates go quiet, that usually means they’re raising money.
- But Vance’s second-quarter fundraising numbers paled in comparison to Ryan’s haul, and Vance Victory is raising money in part to pay off the Vance campaign’s primary debt. That’s left some observers questioning the strength of his fundraising operation.
- But Vance’s campaign strategy raised eyebrows again last week when he traveled to Israel to speak at a conservative conference. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Vance advocated for the U.S. relationship with Israel and said he visited the country to learn more about key issues.
- “J.D. Vance should be campaigning and giving speeches in Jerusalem Township, Ohio (in Lucas County) rather than across the world at CPAC ISRAEL speaking to people who can’t vote or would already support him,” tweeted Alex Stroman, a former spokesman for Trump’s inaugural committee. “It’s not that hard!”
Daily Beast: Inside the GOP Freakout Over J.D. Vance’s Senate Campaign
Sam Brodey and Roger Sollenberger
July 24, 2022
- When J.D. Vance took the stage at a conservative conference last week, it should have prompted sighs of relief from Republicans hoping to see the Ohio GOP’s U.S. Senate nominee hit the campaign trail harder.
- There was just one problem: the stage Vance took was in Israel, 6,000 miles away from Ohio.
- The spectacle of Vance gushing in Tel Aviv about Israel’s high birth rates—to a friendly audience stocked with plenty of conservatives but almost certainly no Ohio voters—seemed to distill for some Republicans everything that’s wrong with his campaign right now.
- Back in the Buckeye State, many are still waiting for Vance to show up, as the most critical phase of the campaign season draws near.
- Bill Cunningham, a fixture on conservative talk radio airwaves in Cincinnati for decades, told The Daily Beast that voters, party activists, and even statewide officials are telling him that Vance has been phoning it in. Vance is allegedly missing from many of the county fairs, party meetings, and campaign stops where candidates in this state are expected to be.
- “The Republican faithful are telling me,” Cunningham said, “they can’t find J.D. Vance with a search warrant.”
- Others say it’s not just that they don’t see Vance—the anti-Trump literary celeb turned MAGA firebrand—pounding the pavement in Ohio. Privately, some aren’t even getting calls back from him, or his campaign, to discuss how they can help.
- That group includes campaign donors whom Vance literally cannot afford to lose. The candidate’s fundraising has been anemic, and because he’s carrying debt from the bruising primary, Vance is in the unenviable position of asking donors to pay off those debts.
- One GOP source in state politics said Vance’s lack of followup with some important donors in the state has been disappointing. “When the fundraising numbers came out, it’s full-on panic now,” they said.
- “It’s a code red,” said Ron Verb, a longtime talk radio host in Youngstown, who has been sounding the alarm about Vance on his show. “I think he’s running the worst campaign that you could possibly run.”
- Meanwhile, Republicans begrudgingly admit that the Democratic nominee, Rep. Tim Ryan, is perhaps running the best possible campaign from a Democrat in this increasingly conservative state.
- With Vance largely absent on the airwaves and the campaign trail, Republicans fret that Ryan is successfully defining himself before Vance is—and that time is running out for the Republican to right the ship.
- “Republicans are like, ‘Are you out of your fucking mind?’ This isn’t some fucking book tour, dude.”
- A GOP source in state politics said it’s a “widespread trend” that Republicans officials are hearing in their networks about Ryan’s crossover appeal. “People who are Republicans are saying, ‘that Tim Ryan guy, he’s alright, I like the way he sounds,’” the GOP source said.
- That’s why Vance’s mid-campaign venture to Israel especially rankled some Republicans. “Tim Ryan is talking about kitchen-table issues, and J.D. Vance is out there going to fucking CPAC in Israel,” said a veteran strategist with deep ties to the state. “Republicans are like, ‘Are you out of your fucking mind?’ This isn’t some fucking book tour, dude.”
- Cunningham, the Cincinnati talk radio host, said he has been speaking regularly with Vance. He shared with The Daily Beast his advice to the candidate: “I told J.D., ‘This race is yours to lose, and at this point, you’re losing it.’ Your staff won’t tell you, but I just did.”
- With less than three months to go until early voting begins in the race, the exact scenario that some Vance-skeptical Republicans were worried about may be coming to fruition.
- But the Trump boost may have papered over the fundamental weaknesses in Vance’s operation. He has never been a strong fundraiser. Instead, an outside group largely funded by Vance’s mentor, tech billionaire Peter Thiel, spent millions through the primary to promote Vance and conduct voter outreach.
- However, Vance cannot touch any of that money to directly fund his campaign operation. His most pressing problem now is that he’s not attracting enough donors: Vance’s latest federal campaign finance filing shows his campaign committee went broke after he won the primary. Further, the campaign is prioritizing donations to pay down Vance’s $700,000 in personal loans.
- The campaign ended June $250,000 underwater, with more debt than cash on hand, and his joint fundraising committees are struggling to keep up. That has raised concerns and criticism that Vance’s fundraising struggles may reflect a lack of grassroots support and enthusiasm among the state’s Republican and independent voters.
- Another longtime Republican strategist in the state told The Daily Beast that the campaign’s passive attitude in the primary won’t fly in the general election.
- “It seems like a mix of not knowing what they are doing—they didn’t run much of a primary campaign and were functionally dead before Trump’s endorsement and Thiel’s money bailed them out at the last minute—and J.D. not seeming to want to do much, anyway. I think they are also just reading the environment and trying to play a ‘prevent defense’—keeping J.D.’s profile low, minimizing gaffes,” the strategist said.
- Vance, Verb continued, “better get off his ass, figure out why he isn’t raising more money, why the Republican Party isn’t behind him raising money, and try to counter the ad campaign of Tim Ryan.”