Saturday evening Donald Trump is expected to take the stage at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio where the Republican Party leadership is praying he will "jumpstart" the campaign of the GOP candidate attempting to hold onto the US Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Rob Portman.
As the Washington Post reports, author and Silicon Valley exec J.D. Vance's first bid for political office is still scrambling to get going as local Republicans worry the seat they felt would be easy to hang onto might be slipping away.
Noting that Vance is supposed to have an advantage in a state that is growing increasingly conservative after Donald Trump won Ohio in both 2016 and 2020, Republicans are still griping that Vance is only now realizing that he has to get out and make his case to skeptical Republicans who are also questioning his credentials.
As the Post's Annie Linskey wrote, "After winning the Republican nomination in May, Vance spent months running what many in the party say they saw as an ineffective campaign that lacked urgency and has forced him and outside allies to scramble, in a state that former president Donald Trump carried twice and has trended red in recent years," adding, "some say they fear Vance wasted precious time, putting himself in an unnecessarily precarious position — one requiring a financial bailout that ate into resources that could have gone to GOP candidates in other states that will help determine control of the Senate next year."
Particularly damning, the report notes, is wide-spread disgruntlement with the candidate, with the Post reporting, "After a recent call during which GOP donors discussed midterm spending, one participant and another person familiar with the conversation were said to have felt that Vance had run a 'lazy' campaign, with shifting views akin to a 'chameleon.'"
The report adds that one major donor on the call made clear they had no intention of helping out Vance's moribund campaign.
What concerns the GOP leadership in D.C. is the fact that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been forced to dump $28 million into the neighboring Ohio race that a McConnell ally called "an unexpected expense.”
The report adds that Vance has been more proactive with personal appearances, but one conservative wonders if it is too little too late for a campaign that is unexpectedly running neck and neck with his Democratic opponent Rep. Tim Ryan.
“It’s not enough to say ‘Hi, see my ads.’ It’s the personal contact. It’s showing up in the counties and saying: I need your vote,” complained Robert Radway, chair of the Hardin County Republican Party.
“I personally wish he had ramped up faster,” he added.
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