JD Vance scrambling to appeal to Trump voters after calling ex-president an 'idiot': report
J.D. Vance MSNBC

According to a report from Politico, "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance's attempt to win the GOP nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat representing Ohio is running into major headwinds due to his previous attacks on Donald Trump.

Vance is battling former state Treasurer Josh Mandel for the nomination and the two have been trying to one-up each other with Trumpian-like comments in an effort to court the former president's hardcore base.

However, in Vance's case, his past criticisms of Trump -- including calling the former president an "idiot" on Twitter in 2016 -- have come back to haunt him.

As Politico's Natalie Allison wrote, "Two super PACs have launched a nearly $1 million coordinated ad buy attacking 'Hillbilly Elegy' author J.D. Vance in Ohio, aiming to tear him down for his previous opposition to Donald Trump,' adding, "Club for Growth Action and USA Freedom Fund, both of which back former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, are each spending $470,000 to make Republican primary voters aware of Vance's harsh rhetoric toward the former president. Vance has publicly said he did not cast a vote for Trump in the 2016 election."

That ad campaign takes aim at Vance's sudden conversion into a Trump supporter despite telling interviewer Charlie Rose in 2016, "I'm a Never Trump guy," before adding, "I never liked him."

Politico's Allison adds, "Vance expressed a similar sentiment in other interviews and since-deleted tweets from that time, including publicly mulling the idea of supporting Hillary Clinton, calling Trump 'noxious' and 'reprehensible.' The ads will play back those comments to viewers watching NFL and NCAA games in the Cincinnati television market, with a smaller buy on Fox News and a corresponding radio spot."

Polling so far seems to show that Vance is not convincing Trump's fans.

"Club for Growth PAC's own updated polling still shows Mandel with a significant lead, however. The newest poll, conducted by WPA Intelligence Sept. 27-30 and obtained by POLITICO, reported Mandel leading with 35 percent of the vote as Vance and investment banker Mike Gibbons are tied at 12 percent," the report adds.

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