Trump becomes target of new ad after Ohio Senate endorsement | New Policies

By JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group opposing Donald Trump’s endorsement of JD Vance in Ohio’s controversial Republican Senate primary is making the former president the target of a new ad campaign.

The announcement from the conservative Club for Growth, which is backing former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel in the race, calls into question Trump’s decision to endorse Vance, the author of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ who had to backtrack on previous criticisms of the former president. The band’s super PAC TV spot features audio of Vance bashing Trump in 2016.

“Did Trump see that? asks a man in a flannel shirt. Woman calls Vance a ‘fraud’ for once slamming but now embracing Trump. The ad, which first aired on Wednesday, also notes Trump’s past endorsement of a man who is now one of his biggest rivals: Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

“He’s got it wrong with JD Vance too,” the ad reads.

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The Vance campaign criticized the new ad, saying, “Josh Mandel and his allies have declared war on President Trump and the entire MAGA movement.”

The ad campaign only intensifies the fight that has erupted in Ohio’s Republican Senate race against Trump’s coveted endorsement, which came just three weeks before the state’s May 3 primary. The candidates have battled for months to win the support of the former president, who remains hugely popular among the GOP base.

The day before Trump’s announcement, Vance’s opponents across the state, including supporters of fellow Republican Senate candidates Jane Timken and Mike Gibbons, mounted a failed last-ditch effort to prevent the endorsement from happening.

The $1.7 million ad campaign is heightening tensions between Trump and the Club for Growth, a major force in Republican politics that has spent millions supporting its chosen candidates in this year’s election. While the group opposed Trump when he ran for the White House in 2016, they realigned after he became president. In the years since, club chairman David McIntosh has become a close confidant and trusted adviser to Trump.

Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son and one of Vance’s top supporters, has been particularly shady about the club’s efforts to defeat Vance.

“The people who fund Josh Mandel spent $10 million in 2016 fighting Donald Trump,” he said at a recent campaign event.

In an interview, McIntosh said the organization continues to support Mandel as Ohio’s top choice for the open Senate seat vacated by retired Republican Rob Portman.

“The ad speaks for itself,” he said. “We believe Josh is the top contender for Make America Great and we will continue to support him.”

Just weeks ago, Trump and McIntosh appeared together at a rally in North Carolina for U.S. Representative Ted Budd, who has the support of Trump and the Club for Growth in Carolina’s Republican Senate primary. North.

Trump invited McIntosh to join him on stage and called him “a very powerful man” and “a very good friend of mine.”

“We are undefeated when we work together,” Trump said. “He’s a winner, that’s how it is.”

Prior to Trump’s endorsement, the group’s super PAC, Club for Growth Action, had spent $4.5 million in Ohio on Mandel’s behalf, mostly to pillory rivals.

The former president’s endorsement of Vance disappointed many of the state’s Trump loyalists. Some Tea Party Republicans protested at Trump’s rally in Ohio last Saturday, and a conservative group, Ohio Value Voters, urged its members to boycott the event or boo Vance when he took the stage.

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report from New York.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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