Republican J.D. Vance wins Ohio Senate race, ABC News projects

FiveThirtyEight's polling average showed a tight race.

November 8, 2022, 12:11 AM

Republican J.D. Vance will win the race for Senate in Ohio, ABC News has projected.

Vance, a venture capitalist known for authoring the memoir "Hillbilly Elegy," was up against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan for retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman's seat.

Vance offered a conciliatory victory speech Tuesday night, thanking his opponent for a "gracious" phone call and offering to serve all Ohioans.

"The thing that I promised to do is go to the United States Senate and fight every single day for the people of Ohio," Vance said. "Thanks to you we get an opportunity to do just that."

Ryan thanked his supporters in a concession speech Tuesday night.

"I am absolutely filled with gratitude," he said.

FiveThirtyEight's polling average showed a tight race, with Vance pulling ahead of Ryan slightly in the final days of the campaign.

Vance had the backing of former President Donald Trump, who won Ohio by 8 percentage points in 2020. Trump's endorsement was key in Vance getting through a crowded GOP field in the primary.

In their spirited debates, Vance and Ryan candidates clashed over abortion, the border and Jan. 6.

Vance said he's "pro-life" and would support some "some minimum national standard" for abortion restrictions, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham's proposed national abortion ban at 15 weeks.

PHOTO: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate JD Vance speaks with local press at a campaign stop at The Mandalay event center on Nov. 4, 2022 in Moraine, Ohio.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate JD Vance speaks with local press at a campaign stop at The Mandalay event center on Nov. 4, 2022 in Moraine, Ohio.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ryan said he would vote to codify the abortion rights previously protected under Roe v. Wade, and criticized "political extremists" for enacting near-total abortion bans that's forced Ohioans, including a 10-year-old rape victim, to travel across state lines for care.

On Jan. 6, Vance slammed the House select committee investigating the riot as a "political hit job." Ryan, meanwhile, accused Vance of "running around with the election deniers, the extremists" supporting some of the rioters.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee, crossed party lines to back Ryan in the race. Cheney said she wouldn't vote for Vance, but would cast her ballot for Ryan if she lived in Ohio.

Ryan, in an effort to court conservative voters, at times distanced himself from President Joe Biden and Democrats on the campaign trail. When asked whether Biden should run for reelection in 2024, Ryan said no.

"I like to see a generational change. With Mitch McConnell. Donald Trump. The president. Everybody," he said.

On the border, Ryan said there's "a lot of work to do" and disagreed with statements from Vice President Kamala Harris that the border is secure. "I'm not here to just get in a fight or just tiptoe the Democratic Party in line," he said.

But it ultimately wasn't enough to overcome Vance in Ohio, a once perennial swing state that's shown signs of becoming more red in these past few election cycles.

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