“Six years ago I didn’t like Trump,” he told a small group of supporters at a Hilliard brewery this week. “I didn’t think he would make a good president. I was very happy to be proven wrong.”
He added, “I’ve been very proud to have supported the President over the past few years.”
According to the four Republicans familiar with his advisers’ talks, Mr Trump has been said to have been moving towards Mr Vance for some time. He was encouraged by a number of allies and donors, including billionaire Peter Thiel, who is a key financier of Mr. Vance. Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who influences members of Mr. Trump’s base, has also spoken positively about Mr. Vance on his prime-time show.
According to an analysis by media tracking firm AdImpact, Mr Vance’s opponents began attacking him for his lack of Trump allegiance and have spent nearly $2.8 million on television and digital advertising since February.
Many Republicans in Ohio have been waiting for Mr. Trump to back a Senate candidate and say it would help them make a decision. But with voting already underway, some voters at Republican events this week had already cast their ballots, or at least made up their minds.
At a rally for Ms Timken in Athens on Thursday, at least one voter said Mr Trump’s support was significant but not a game changer. “If she wasn’t a Trump supporter, I probably wouldn’t support her,” said Amy Karr, 50, an accountant in Racine. But Ms Karr said she plans to vote for Ms Timken regardless of who Mr Trump endorses.
Ms. Timken said she is the only Republican candidate for the Senate the former president has backed in the past when she ran for the Ohio Republican Party chairmanship.
“I know rumors circulate, but rumors seem to circulate all the time,” she said. “You see, President Trump is very popular with the Republican primary voters. But every day I earn the votes of Ohioans, and they are the ones who will make the difference in this race.”
Jasmine Ulloa reported from Columbus, Ohio, and Maggie Haberman from New York.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/15/us/politics/ohio-jd-vance-trump-endorsement.html Ohio Republicans are scrambling to their feet as Trump endorsement hangs over Senate race