COLUMBUS, Ohio ( Associated Press) — A group protesting J.D. Vance’s support of Donald Trump The former president is targeting a new ad campaign in Ohio’s controversial Republican Senate primary.
An ad for the Conservative Club for Growth, which backs former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel in the race, questions Trump’s decision to support Vance, the “hillbilly alley” writer who had to back down from previous criticism of the former president Is. The TV spot of the group’s Super Pac has audio of Vance cursing Trump in 2016.
“Has Trump seen this?” asks a man in a flannel shirt. A woman once labeled Vance a “fraud” for denouncing her, but is now embracing Trump. The ad, which first aired Wednesday, also notes Trump’s past support of a man who is now one of his biggest rivals: Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah.
“He’s doing it wrong even with the Jedi Vance,” the ad says.
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 escalates the battle that has raged in Ohio’s Republican Senate race over Trump’s highly coveted endorsement, which came just three weeks before the state’s May 3 primary. The candidates competed with each other for months to gain the support of the former president, who is widely popular among the GOP base.
The night before Trump’s announcement, Vance opponents across the state, including supporters of fellow Republican Senate candidates Jane Timken and Mike Gibbons, made a failed final attempt. To stop being supported.
The $1.7 million ad campaign escalates 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 elections. While the group opposed Trump while running for the White House in 2016, it realigned itself after becoming president. In the years that followed, the club’s president, David McIntosh, has become a close confidant and trusted adviser to Trump.
Donald Trump Jr., the son of the former president and a top Vance supporter, has drawn particular attention to the club’s efforts to defeat Vance.
“The people who are funding Josh Mandel spent $10 million fighting Donald Trump in 2016,” he said at a recent campaign event.
In an interview, McIntosh said that the organization continues to support Mandel as Ohio’s best choice for an open Senate seat by retiring Republican Rob Portman.,
“The advertising speaks for itself,” he said. “We think Josh is the best Make America Great candidate and we will continue to support him.”
Just a few weeks ago, Trump and Mackintosh appeared together in North Carolina at a rally for U.S. Representative Ted Budd, who is backed by both Trump and the Club for Growth in North Carolina’s Republican Senate primary.
Trump invited Mackintosh to join him on stage and called him “a very powerful person” and “a very good friend of mine”.
Trump said, ‘When we work together, we are undefeated. “He’s a winner, he’s the one.”
Prior to Trump’s endorsement, the group’s super PAC, Club for Growth Action, had spent $4.5 million on Mendel’s behalf in Ohio, mostly to drive out his rivals.
Vance’s support of the former president disappointed many Trump loyalists in the state. Some Tea Party Republicans protested at Trump’s Ohio rally last Saturday, and a conservative group, the Ohio Values Voters, urged its members to boycott the event or boo Vance if he took to the stage.
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report from New York.