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With three months left for the election, Ohio Republican Senate nominee JD Vance says he feels “very confident about where we are.”

Vance, a former hedge fund executive and best-selling author who won a grim GOP Senate primary in early May, in the latest opinion polls in Ohio’s race for the Senate, Democratic Rep. That left behind Tim Ryan, one of a handful of people across the country. Will Republicans win back the majority of the chamber in November’s midterm elections?

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“I think the election is obviously a big joke, especially far from over,” Vance said Friday in a Fox News interview before speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas.

Vance pointed to opinion polls ahead of the 2016 presidential election, which indicated a close contest in the Buckeye state between former President Donald Trump and then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Ohio, at the time, was a top general election battleground, but Trump won both his 2016 White House victory and his 2020 re-election defeat to President Biden by eight points, painting the state from purple to red. transferred to.

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Vance, Ryan, Fox News speak on key midterm issues

In the race to retire GOP Sen. Rob Portman, Vance is dramatically ousted by Ryan in a crucial battle for campaign cash. He acknowledged that “of course fundraising is something that Democrats always do better than Republicans.”

But he insisted that “we started our TV commercial a few days ago, the fundraising is going well and we definitely have the money we need to tell the story that the people of Ohio deserve to hear.” “

Vance’s campaign, in conjunction with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called for a $1 million advertising purchase. Ryan has been spotting on TV since the May 3 primary, spending nearly $6 million so far.

JD Vance and Rep. Tim Ryan Wages in the Battle of Populism in Ohio’s Senate Showdown

Vance took aim at his general election opponent, claiming that “Tim Ryan is running a gaslighting campaign. He’s trying to convince people he’s a libertarian, when in fact, 100% of the time he’s Joe Biden.” When the people of Ohio feel they’ve been lied to, and we’re going to make sure they realize they’ve been lied to, they’re not going to vote for this career politician, who have no business in the Senate.”

Ryan, a longtime congressman from northeastern Ohio who championed the working class during his many years in Congress and during his unsuccessful 2020 White House run, easily bested two lesser-known rivals to win the Democratic Senate nomination. .

Now-Senate Democratic nominee Ohio Representative Tim Ryan answers a question during the Democratic primary debate

Ryan campaign spokesman Izzy Levy responded to Vance’s comments, arguing in a statement to Fox News that “it’s fun to hear J.D. Vance talking about lying to the people of Ohio when he’s the San Francisco fraud.” who started a fake non-profit that did nothing to address the opioid epidemic and help JD Vance start his political career. JD is campaigning in Texas right now because if he tried He couldn’t find Ohio on the map.”

Vance’s endorsement of former President Donald Trump came less than three weeks before the primary saw the candidate win for the first time over a handful of Republican rivals who also sought the former president’s support. Vance ran a populist primary campaign that highlighted his support for Trump’s America First agenda.

But during his general election performance, he faced criticism from Democrats as well as some Republicans, which he describes as his absence from the campaign trail in Ohio.

When asked about the jabs on behalf of fellow Republicans, Vance said, “It’s clearly a small number of voices who generally weren’t supporting me in the Republican primary. I argue for them, look. , I understand you don’t necessarily like everything in the primary campaign. It’s time to unite the party. It’s time to stop complaining and work really hard to make sure we get to Tim Ryan in November defeat it.”

And Vance emphasized that “for every loud voice criticizing our campaign, there are 100 people in Ohio State who are working hard, who are making sure we get the message. Those people are who are ultimately going to be responsible for winning this race for us.”