Republican author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance is facing off against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan for an open US Senate seat in Ohio.
Sen. Rob Portman, who currently represents the state in the Senate, announced in early 2021 that he would not seek reelection.
Despite Ryan's large financial lead, experts say Vance has a better chance of winning in November.
Republican J.D. Vance faces off against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio to represent the state in the US Senate. Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who currently holds the seat and has been a part of the Senate since 2011, announced in January 2021 that he would not be running for a third term, leaving the seat up for grabs in 2022.
Ohio's US Senate race candidates
Vance is a venture capitalist, veteran, and author who rose to prominence following the publication of his book, "Hillbilly Elegy," which delves into Vance's childhood and upbringing in Ohio.
Vance won the Republican nomination in a crowded seven-candidate GOP primary race, winning 32.2% of the overall vote. Vance, who received an endorsement from President Donald Trump in the run-up to the primary election, previously compared Trump to "America's Hitler" in private messages with his former roommate.
At a rally in September, the former president made fun of Vance and accused him of showering him with flattery in exchange for the president's support.
"J.D. is kissing my ass he wants my support so much," Trump said in Youngstown, Ohio.
Ryan, Vance's general election challenger, has represented Ohio districts in the US House of Representatives since 2003. He represented the state's 17th Congressional District for 10 years before switching to the 13th Congressional District in 2013 following redistricting.
Ryan handily defeated the two other Democratic candidates in Ohio's primary election, bringing in 69.6% of the overall vote. In 2020, prior to running for the Senate, Ryan ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. His presidential campaign failed to gain traction, ultimately leading him to withdraw from the race and run for re-election in the US House.
Ohio's voting history
The state voted for President Donald Trump over Joe Biden by about 8 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. Ohio's been a swing state for decades, having voted Republicans and Democrats for president four times each over the last eight presidential election cycles.
The money race
According to OpenSecrets, Ryan has raised $47.3 million, spent $44.5 million, and has $2.8 million of cash on hand as of October 19. Vance has raised $12 million, spent $9 million, and has $2.9 million of cash left on hand as of October 19.
As of late October, several dozen super PACs, national party committees, politically active nonprofits, and other non-candidate groups had combined to spend about $90 million to advocate for or against candidates in this race, including during the race's primary phase. The vast majority of this spending has benefitted Vance, with the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican-backing super PAC, alone accounting for nearly one-third of the spending.
What experts say
The race between Vance and Ryan is rated as "tilt Republican" by Inside Elections, "lean Republican" by The Cook Political Report, and "leans Republican" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
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