J.D. Vance projected to win Ohio Senate seat

Ohio 2022 midterm election

(NewsNation) — The race for the U.S. Senate seat for Ohio has been called by NewsNation/ Decision Desk HQ in favor of J.D. Vance.

Democratic U.S. Rep Tim Ryan and former President Donald Trump’s backed Republican, venture capitalist J.D. Vance, were locked in a race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman who chose not to seek reelection after 12 years in office. 

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The race for this seat has largely been viewed as Democrats’ attempt to flip a Senate seat in Ohio, which has been a Republican stronghold for more than a decade. Given Ohio’s typically right-leaning history, Ryan opted to deemphasize party during his campaign, focusing instead on finding a message of “common ground.” Meanwhile, Vance tried to soften his own image later into the campaign after making controversial statements about women and getting a glowing endorsement from Trump.  

In a brief victory speech, Vance said he was overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who supported him during the campaign.

“We won and we won big, what an incredible thing,” Vance said.

Vance said he promises to bring better leadership to Washington.

“We just got a great chance to govern, and we need to use it,” Vance said.

Meanwhile, Ryan conceded to Vance in his own set of remarks delivered Tuesday evening.

“I have the privilege as the Democratic nominee to concede this race to J.D. Vance because the way this country operates is when you lose an election, you concede, and you respect the will of the people–Right? We can’t have a system where if you win its legitimate, and if you lose it’s stolen, that’s not how we can move forward in the United States,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he has “no regrets” about his campaign and urged the audience to fight extremism for the sake of future generations.

“The one thing we know for sure is that our kids and our grandkids are going to live together. We know it. The question is: What kind of country are they going to live in? Are they going to live in a country where they are being forced to hate each other or are we giving them a country where they respect each other,” Ryan said.

Ryan told his supporters that moving forward in America, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

“I do not promise you ease. I do not promise you comfort, but I’ll promise you this. I promise you weariness. I’ll promise you hardship. I’ll promise you sacrifice. And with these, I will promise you victory. Victory for America, victory for Ohio, and most importantly, victory for our kids and our grandkids,” Ryan said.

Ahead of Election Day, sparks flew during a debate between the two candidates after Ryan tried to paint Vance as espousing racist and xenophobic beliefs. Border issues became a key part of the debate, with both candidates frequently pivoting answers to questions about abortion or the opioid crisis to the southern border. Vance tried to connect Ryan with President Joe Biden, saying the two had a “wide-open southern border” policy. Meanwhile, Ryan touted his own work on border security and broke with Biden and others in his party by saying he “completely” disagreed with “relaxing some of the regulations down on the border.” 

On abortion, another central issue to this race, Vance said he would vote for a proposed federal abortion ban after 15 weeks (with exceptions for victims of rape or incest and to protect the health of the monther), introduced by fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. Meanwhile, Ryan said he would vote to codify Roe v. Wade into law, which generally allowed abortions up under viability. He said he found Graham’s bill to be “extreme.” 

Polling throughout months of campaigning and in the final days before election day revealed the candidates were in a dead heat with just a couple of points between them. Ryan held a slight lead over Vance for much of the campaign season. 

Despite the close polling, the race skewed in campaign finances. Ryan far outraised and outspent his opponent, campaign finance records revealed, with $47.3 million raised and $44.5 million spent by Oct. 19, compared to Vance’s $12 million raised and $9 million spent. Even though Vance struggled to raise funds, national groups propped up his campaign by pouring in tens of millions of dollars into advertising. Meanwhile, Ryan, the more prolific fundraiser, was forced to spend cash fast to keep up with the GOP’s onslaught.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate. Of the 100 Senate seats, 35 will see elections during the midterms, including one special election. Democrats have an effective majority in the chamber, with a 50-50 split and Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaking vote. Democrats hold 14 seats and Republicans hold 21 seats up for election in the 2022 midterms. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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