Republicans in Ohio are worried ten-term Rep. Tim Ryan may help Democrats pick up the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman, according to a new report by NBC News.
Henry Gomez reported on the "once largely unimaginable scenario" under the headline, "Tim Ryan's GOP-friendly campaign unsettles Republicans in Ohio."
"The Democrat is airing ads on Fox News, talking incessantly about China and promising to put "Americans first" in a state where former President Donald Trump won by healthy margins. His Republican opponent, Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, has Trump’s endorsement but is facing criticism that he's coasting while Ryan outraises, outspends and outworks him," Gomez reported. "Although independent polling has been scarce, some local GOP leaders believe that the general election is too close for comfort and have had trouble concealing their frustrations."
Republicans have worried about Vance's work ethic, with a prominent Cincinnati conservative talk radio host saying the "Republican faithful are telling me they can't find J.D. Vance with a search warrant.”
Gomez, who has covered Ryan since he was a state senate over 20 years ago, described the Democrat's campaign as "presenting himself as a post-partisan populist."
"A lot of people just know sh*t is broken," Ryan told NBC News. "We're all mad at each other. The pandemic sucked — economic collapse, we're all pissed off. ... So, who's going to be the one who steps up and says, 'OK, lay down your arms?' Let's figure it out. Let's talk."
Vance has noted the impact of Ryan's campaign message.
"I actually spoke to a donor yesterday who told me that he thought Tim Ryan was running in the Republican primary," Vance said in a telephone interview. "And he was confused because he thought the Republicans' primary was over."
After a bruising GOP primary, Vance's campaign reported that at the end of June it had $629,000 in the bank, but owed $883,000. Ryan's campaign reported zero debt and a war chest of over $3.5 million.
One local GOP operative told NBC News that Vance's campaign is "burning bridges faster than they can build them."
Meanwhile, Ryan has been mocking Vance for the negative press attention he's received.
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