It looks like Donald Trump will be endorsing J.D. Vance in Ohio's Senate Primary after all, and now the question is this late in the game, with the primary less than 3 weeks away, will it be enough to get Vance out of his single-digit poll showing?
Former President Trump is planning to endorse J.D. Vance in Ohio's crowded senate GOP primary, according to three sources with knowledge of his decision.
In recent days, Trump began calling donors and advisers to get their opinion endorsing on the “Hillbilly Elegy” author, but he held off under intense pressure from the rival Republican campaigns of Josh Mandel and Jane Timken, the sources said.
"The Mandel people hit the roof," one Republican with knowledge of the discussions told NBC News, noting that Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan tried to dissuade Trump on behalf of Mandel, whom the congressman supports.
The May 3 primary is winner take all — meaning the candidate with the plurality wins.
Though Trump's press shop had already written up an endorsement of Vance, a source close to Mandel’s campaign said Thursday that it threw up a last-minute obstacle for the former president to consider: an internal Republican poll conducted by his campaign showing Mandel in front with 33 percent of the vote, followed by Matt Dolan and Mike Gibbons tied at 15 percent. Vance and Jane Timken were tied at 9 percent in the Mandel poll.
The poll showed that, even with Trump's endorsement, Vance rose to 15 percent support but was still in a three-way tie for second with Mandel marginally in the lead at 19 percent — a sign that Trump's endorsement had weight but was not determinative.
Trump will be in Ohio on April 23, in which case it's now no longer a mystery as to who he is going to endorse.
So yeah, it's going to be fun times in Ohio.