(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) In what likely caused equal parts heartburn, heartache and heart failure for establishment Republicans and RINOs who were hoping to consign Orange Man Bad to the party’s dustbin, a slew of Trump-endorsed candidates scored big wins in Tuesday’s primaries in Indiana and Ohio.
None were bigger than JD Vance’s in Ohio, where many viewed the GOP tilt as a testing ground for the political influence Trump wields within the Republican party.
With 90% of the vote in late Tuesday night, multiple news outlets had called the state’s Senate Republican primary for Vance, besting a crowded field on what many pundits considered the coattails of a late Trump endorsement.
Less than a month ago, Vance was stuck in a campaign morass behind never-Trumper state Sen. Matt Dolan, state treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken. That changed in short order after Trump not only endorsed Vance, but hosted a rousing rally that pumped new life into the Vance campaign.
Vance acknowledged as much in his victory speech.
“I have absolutely got to thank the 45th, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,” Vance said, and echoed the sentiment that his victory was a victory for Trump’s America First agenda.
“A lot of the fake news media out there … they wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump’s America First agenda,” Vance said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it ain’t the death of the America First agenda.”
Tens of millions of RINO dollars spent to stop my man @JDVance1 in Ohio and they call it before 9 o’clock. The America First movement is alive and well people. Congrats JD, well done. pic.twitter.com/Yhu3LEHjQF
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 4, 2022
Vance moves on to face Democrat Tim Ryan in the general election to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.
Trump-endorsed candidates scored a clean sweep across Ohio and Indiana, going 22-for-22, according to Breitbart. The victories included Indiana Rep. Greg Pence, brother of former Veep Mike Pence, who landed a Trump endorsement that secured him the Republican nomination in Indiana’s 6th congressional district.
In another Trump-related Indiana sign of strength, Erin Houchin won the Republican primary for the 9th District U.S. House seat.
Houchin, who gave up a state senate seat to run, wasn’t formally endorsed by Trump, but tied her campaign and policies closely to his America First agenda.
The strength of Trump’s sway over upcoming primaries, as evidenced by big wins in Ohio and Indiana, bodes nicely for Trump-endorsed candidates in bellwether states like North Carolina and West Virginia.
Incumbent Rep. Alex Mooney is pitted against an establishment candidate in West Virginia’s primary, and is touting his Trump-endorsement and conservative record against Rep. David McKinley.
Mooney held a Get Out The Vote Telephone Rally on Tuesday, where Trump was featured as the special guest.
“I am honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement,” Mooney said.
“I am a proud America First conservative and will do whatever I can to carry on the President’s legacy of fighting for election integrity, defeating socialism, and supporting the Second Amendment in Congress.”
“This gentleman is going to be your next Senator, someone you’ll be very proud of,” Trump said of Budd.
“He’ll fight like nobody fights. I’m giving him my complete and total endorsement.”