After months of razor-thin polling in a race that garnered a national spotlight, ballots indicate Republican J.D. Vance has defeated Democrat Tim Ryan in Ohio's U.S. Senate race.
"What an incredible honor it is to get to serve the people of Ohio in the United States Senate," Vance said in his victory speech. "What an incredible honor it is to have gotten to run this campaign win or lose, this is one of the coolest experiences of my entire life."
Vance, an author and venture capitalist, was raised 30 miles north of Cincinnati in Middletown. His campaign leaned into the MAGA-sphere, with Vance twice appearing on stage with Trump to campaign on immigration fears, blaming Democrats for inflation and attacking teachers unions. His alignment with far-right conservatives prompted a group of GOP figures to stump instead for Ryan, whose moderate tone appealed to Republicans.
Vance was somewhat hesitantly endorsed by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who was brought up on articles of impeachment, is under investigation for stealing classified documents from the White House and whose rhetoric helped spur far-right supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol Building. A few years ago, Vance had written extensively about Trump being "reprehensible," saying, "Fellow Christians, everyone is watching us when we apologize for this man. Lord help us" after Trump's misogynistic "Grab 'em by the pussy" conversation on Access Hollywood came out in 2016.
Ryan, who has served 10 terms in the U.S. House representing Ohio’s 13th district, struck a chord with some Republicans during his campaign by focusing on economic concerns and shrugging off culture wars while still attempting to appeal to progressive voters by supporting abortion access. Vance routinely accused Ryan of being a faux moderate, pointing out how often he voted with Democrats.
In his concession speech, Ryan differentiated himself from Vance, who had supported Trump's demonstrably false claims that current president Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election. Trump did not acknowledge that he lost his reelection bid until two months later yet continued fruitless lawsuits asserting that election fraud had been committed.
"I have the privilege to concede this race to J.D. Vance, because the way this country operates is that when you lose an election you concede," Ryan said. "You respect the will of the people. We can't have a system where if you win it's a legitimate election and if you lose someone stole it."
This year’s midterm elections followed a weird special election that was required after the state refused to draw new voting maps. A Republican-led commission redrew the boundaries of Ohio's House districts earlier this year in an ongoing, dramatic redistricting battle. Many of the ensuing boundary maps repeatedly were rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court as being unconstitutional for unfairly favoring Republicans.
Though the Ohio Supreme Court deemed the maps unconstitutional, a federal court eventually declared that Ohio must use them for August's special election and the Nov. 8 midterms due to timing, but the state is required to pass fairer maps before the 2024 election. However, the ramifications of voting within the current redrawn – and, many say, unfair – boundaries in districts throughout the state will affect elections and priorities for years to come.
All Ohio election results are preliminary until certified by the Board of Elections. CityBeat uses polling numbers that have been reported first-hand by the Associated Press, which is standard for most newsrooms. For more election results and information, visit Ohio's secretary of state website.
This story was originally published Nov. 8 and updated Nov. 9 with ballot numbers, quotes and context.
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