GOP: Two of the most divisive Republicans in the House are campaigning for J.D. Vance, a novelist, and venture entrepreneur, ahead of Ohio’s GOP Senate primary next week.
Vance’s campaign stated that Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene will attend a series of town halls with him on Saturday. Both will make appearances in Newark and West Chester, Ohio, with Gaetz stopping in East Canton with Vance.
The joint events come less than two weeks after former President Trump endorsed Vance in the Ohio Republican Senate primary, and they represent a last-ditch effort before voters go to the polls next week.
“For far too long, the mainstream media and liberal elites have stifled and weaponized conservative views,” Gaetz said in a statement. “JD Vance is the only candidate willing to stand up to the establishment and make the voices of ordinary Ohioans heard in Washington.” I’m looking forward to meeting JD in Ohio and assisting him in winning this race.”
In the Republican primary on May 3 to succeed retiring Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Vance will face six opponents, including former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, businessman Mike Gibbons, and former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, all of whom actively sought Trump’s support prior to his endorsement of Vance.
The race is still in progress. Vance, who had been polling in third place for months, has risen in recent weeks, with one survey from the Republican-leaning Trafalgar Group this month showing him in second place behind Mandel. In a recent Fox News survey, he was shown to be 5 points ahead of the pack.
Vance’s decision to bring in two of Trump’s most ardent congressional supporters in the closing days before the primary implies he’s hoping to capitalize on the former president’s endorsement in a last-ditch effort to turn out Trump’s ultraconservative constituency.
“J.D. Vance is a true America First Patriot who believes in taking action rather than just talking a big game on TV,” Greene said in a statement. “At the start of the year, I proudly declared my support for JD and campaigned with him, and I look forward to joining him on the campaign trail once more as the sole President Trump-endorsed candidate for the United States Senate in Ohio.”
Someone hasn’t fallen out of Donald Trump‘s favor as rapidly as David McIntosh since Anthony Scaramucci was sacked just 10 days into his White House job.
Trump Lashes Out at GOP Leaders
At an event in North Carolina on April 9, the former President seemed pleased with the Club for Growth’s leader. As he welcomed the conservative power broker onstage, Trump added, “He’s a winner. He’s a fighter. We’re undefeated when we work together.”
McIntosh responded, “You are a terrific man… I am so delighted to associate with you.”
The pair’s collaboration came to a standstill last week when the Club for Growth refused to end its negative ad campaign against Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Hayes. Vance stepped up his campaign against the Trump-backed author of “Hillbilly Elegy” at the request of the former President.
In the tense Republican primary for the seat vacated by Sen. Rob Portman, the group has backed former state treasurer Josh Mandel.
Trump, alarmed by McIntosh’s resistance, is said to have instructed an intermediary to send him a short text message.
According to a source close to Trump, the two men haven’t communicated since. The Club released a new ad criticizing Vance for his previous criticism of Trump and citing Trump’s former endorsement of Mitt Romney’s 2018 Senate candidacy in Utah on Wednesday.
Some Republican contenders are reeling as a result of McIntosh’s quick expulsion from Trump’s world. Meanwhile, four people familiar with the matter said the Club for Growth is dealing with disgruntled board members and contributors worried that if it doesn’t swiftly patch things up with Trump, its influence would suffer.
It’s the latest chapter in the former President’s battle for sole control of the Republican Party, highlighting Trump’s expectation that friends either bend to his will or get out of his way.
Even if the Club agreed to re-enter Trump’s post-presidency operation, some of Trump’s associates plan to lobby the former President to keep the club at a distance.
“Among these outside groups in Republican politics, the Club for Growth is the single most harmful factor. “If you go down the list of any item that is at the core of Trump’s economic agenda — save for corporate tax cuts — they oppose it,” said Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist “The Club’s most ardent critics have long used the podcast as a forum.
On one episode of the show, former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro claimed, “The Club for Globalists is basically one of a class… that basically advocates this globalist elite ideology that is night and day of… Donald Trump and the MAGA movement.”
Another Trump confidante, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk honestly, said the group’s staunch opposition to protectionist trade and industrial policies is incompatible with the MAGA agenda.
“Trump has been duped by McIntosh, and I believe he is aware of it,” this source stated.
Trump’s spokesman declined to comment on the situation.
Joe Kildea, a spokesperson for the Club for Growth, said McIntosh and Trump had “worked successfully together in the past and will in the future,” before declining to speak further.
Kildea also stated that the group will continue to back Mandel and Alabama Senate candidate Mo Brooks, whom Trump endorsed in March but later revoked due to the congressman’s wish to move on from the 2020 contest.
Brooks campaign press secretary Will Hampson said, “We’re pleased to have the Club’s support, and it doesn’t affect much of what we’re doing here.”
According to two people familiar with the situation, Trump recently learned that McIntosh was telling friends and Republican candidates that if Trump runs for president in 2024, he would be a top candidate for White House chief of staff.
Trump has been known to become frustrated with those who claim to be closer to him than they actually are, having gone through four chiefs of staff throughout his presidency.