OTTAWA — A Republican voter undecided on who to support in the primaries posed the question inside a cramped side room of Well Grounded Cafe on Thursday.
Republican candidate J.D. Vance was asked “what does success look like to you?” and he knocked it out of the park as far as the 20-25 stuffed inside were concerned. Vance hit on what was one of the linchpins to Donald Trump’s first go-around campaigning for president — immigration.
“I’d really like to solve the immigration problem. This is crazy, 200,000 undocumented illegals coming into the country, bringing drugs and a lot of sex trafficking victims with them. We’ve got to solve the illegal immigration crisis in this country.”
The answer energized the crowd in Ottawa during Vance’s hour-long stop on the campaign trail that clearly won over some supporters for the rookie politician.
The author, attorney and venture capitalist launched the 14 cities in six days “No BS Townhall Tour” on Thursday morning with Ottawa being the tour’s second stop. Vance says he is making himself available so he can speak directly and candidly to Ohioans about the issues facing the state and the country.
“The No BS Townhall Tour is about being honest with Ohioans and answering all of their questions directly,” Vance said. “Every day, we’re fed fake news by the corporate media and the ruling class they cover for. We’re going to correct the misinformation and answer the voters’ questions directly. Ohioans deserve no less, and I’m excited to kick off this statewide tour.”
Having at least 10 strong and unwavering Republicans is a key factor for conservative voters, according to Vance, who said currently there are too many weak members of the party who say one thing during the campaign cycle and trip back home and do another thing when they get to Washington, D.C. He alluded to being strong again after being asked who he would support for Senate Majority leader, if not (R-Ky) Mitch McConnell.
“It’s too early to make that decision now,” Vance stated. It’s certainly not likely I commit to vote for McConnell.”
Vance paused for a moment, likely because the Republicans are in the minority, before finishing his answer. “The problem is, we got somebody else, right. I’ve been one of the few politicians, I think I’m the only person in this race who has been willing to criticize leadership. I think it’s important. By the way, if you’re not willing to criticize leadership as a Senate candidate, you’re not going to be willing to follow through on any of these promises when you actually get there.”
Vance is running in a crowded Republican primary field to fill the seat currently held by Rob Portman who is not running for re-election. Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel appears to hold the early lead in the contest according to the first independent poll of the contest.
Mandel received 21.4% support followed by Vance at 14.9%, businessman Mike Gibbons at 11.9%, former Republican Party Chair Jane Timken at 10.4% and no other candidates with double digits, according to the poll taken Dec. 12-15 by the Trafalgar Group. With that said, Vance is surging according to many, including an important web search tracking service.
According to Google Trends, Vance, at 46%, had nearly twice as many Google searches as Mandel, 25% from January 7-13. This comparison included just three candidates; Vance, Mandel and Tim Ryan who checked in with 29% of the trio’s accumulated search total.
In that same 7-day period Google Trends listed Timken +400%, Vance +120%, Gibbons +90% and Mandel +50%.
Voters will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the general election on November 8 with the primary elections scheduled for May 3.