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Trump-backed candidate Vance wins Republican Ohio primary

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Republican US Senate candidate J.D. Vance arrives to speak to supporters at an election party after winning the primary in Cincinnati, Ohio, US, May 3, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

J.D. Vance has won the Senate Republican primary in Ohio after receiving former US president Donald Trump's endorsement in the hotly contested race.

With almost all the ballots of the Tuesday primary counted, Vance led the Republicans' race with 32 percent of the vote, followed by former state Treasurer Josh Mandel with 24 percent, and state lawmaker Matt Dolan with 23 percent, according to Edison Research.

Vance, 37, a former marine, venture capitalist and author of Hillbilly Elegy, attributed his win to Trump's continuing influence over Republican voters.

"I've absolutely got to thank the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump," Vance told his supporters in his victory speech.

Vance, who was once a passionate anti-Trumper and described the former president as an "idiot” and “America’s Hitler”, later changed his stance and went on to gain Trump's support by succumbing to his controversial policies regarding trade tariffs, immigration bans and big-tech firms restrictions.

During his speech, Vance attacked the media for highlighting his past criticism of Trump, saying, “They wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump’s America First agenda.”

“It ain’t the death of the America First agenda,” added Vance who will now face Democratic congressman Tim Ryan in November to determine who will fill the seat of retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman.

Trump announced his endorsement of Vance in April, saying that he would have the best chance of victory against Ryan.

By endorsing GOP candidates in the 2022 midterms, the former president is promoting himself as the most influential Republican leader, staking his reputation as a GOP King Maker able to pull his chosen candidates across the finish line.

American political analyst Myles Hoenig predicted that if the Trump-endorsed candidates won the votes, "he’ll trumpet it as Trump the King Maker."

“If Trump’s choices come out on the short end of the stick he can, and likely, blame the Republican Party establishment for sabotaging the MAGA steamroller. For him, it is never his fault and ... he can go back to saying that he was right all along and he still is the King Maker,” the analyst said.

Trump, who has not yet announced definite plans for the upcoming US presidential election, has been regularly hinting that he intends to mount another presidential campaign in 2024.

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