ICYMI: CNN: ‘Where’s J.D.?:’ Vance’s Ohio Senate campaign prompts GOP concerns

CNN’S Manu Raju to an Ohio voter: “Have you seen much of JD Vance around here?” “Well, no.”

While Vance hides, “Ryan has used his fundraising advantage to promote his message that he’s focused on an economic agenda, burnishing a self-image as a blue-collar warrior.”

The latest reporting from CNN confirms what voters across Ohio have been seeing all summer — and who they haven’t seen: San Francisco fraud JD Vance.

WATCH:

Just weeks before Ohioans begin to go to the polls, CNN reports, Vance “goes days without any public events, and his campaign gives little information about his whereabouts,” as a super PAC allied with Mitch McConnell prepares to spend a “staggering $28 million on television ads here to save a Senate seat once viewed as a lock.”

Notably, when approached by CNN, Vance “declined to be interviewed and did not return a call… [and] refused to provide information about his events this week” — yet another reversal for Vance, who prior to running for Senate worked as a paid contributor for the network.

Vance has been dogged all summer by his refusal to be seen in Ohio, his ongoing efforts to hide from the voters he hopes will send him to the Senate, his inaccessibility to press, and his stunning inability to raise money, despite years working in San Francisco as a Big Tech venture capitalist. Vance’s nonexistent campaign has prompted widespread hand-wringing among Republican leaders, and drove Sabato’s Crystal Ball to shift its rating for Ohio’s Senate race in Tim Ryan’s direction last week.

Read more from CNN:

  • Ohio voters will begin casting their ballots in six weeks — and J.D. Vance has been difficult to find.
  • The rookie GOP candidate goes days without any public events, and his campaign gives little information about his whereabouts.
  • He has been slow to build a fundraising operation, and a ground game, and is being dramatically outspent on air while racking up a nearly $900,000 in campaign debt last quarter. And now, a super PAC with ties to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to spend a staggering $28 million on television ads here to save a Senate seat once viewed as a lock— and deny Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan a chance for a major, midterm upset.
  • “J.D. is running a campaign where the faithful in the state, the county chairmen, the precinct executives, the executive committee and the Republican Party are saying, ‘where’s J.D.?'” said Bill Cunningham, a conservative radio talk show host in Cincinnati for the past 40 years.
  • Cunningham added: “He’s been spoken to by at least one US senator and at least one governor he respects to kick him in the ass.”
  • Some blame the growing pains of a first-time candidate; two GOP sources say he likes to keep a light schedule, especially on weekends.
  • “He’s like the dog who caught the car,” said a senior Ohio Republican, who asked not to be named.
  • Vance declined to be interviewed and did not return a call to his cellphone. His campaign refused to provide information about his events this week. A CNN reporter showed up at his campaign office in Cincinnati asking for an interview; a Vance aide said he was not there. In a statement, Vance’s spokesperson didn’t respond to a list of questions, and instead attacked CNN, and contended the candidate has spoken to local news outlets this week.
  • But there has been a dramatic disparity over fundraising and campaign spending between the two party nominees. By the end of June, Ryan raised $21.7 million, compared to Vance’s $3.5 million, and held more than a five-to-one cash advantage, despite spending over $18 million on the race. 
  • Ryan has used his fundraising advantage to promote his message that he’s focused on an economic agenda, burnishing a self-image as a blue-collar warrior. 
  • In an interview near the border of Indiana, Ryan said he supported Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA, backed his defense budget and Space Force, and tariffs on China. The congressman said he opposed Biden on forgiving up to $20,000 in student debt for certain borrowers, arguing it “sends the wrong message” to those who didn’t earn a degree.
  • “What I want people to know is in this environment, do you have the guts to take on your own party? And from my vantage point, for me it’s a resounding yes,” added Ryan.