https://rollcall.com/2022/04/19/you-always-have-to-talk-about-health-trump-shows-his-first-card-in-close-held-2024-hand/

Ohio’s primary for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by the retiring Rob Portman is emerging as a key test case for the Trump seal of approval. The former president on Friday endorsed J.D. Vance, a venture capitalist and author of the bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.”

Trump’s usual public decisiveness and firmness has been missing with some of his recent endorsement, including that of Vance. His lukewarm embrace of Vance came in a statement that, in another un-Trump moment, put practicality over the MAGA movement, with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan on course to be his party’s primary winner: “We cannot play games. It is all about winning!”

“Like some others, J.D. Vance may have said some not so great things about me in the past, but he gets it now, and I have seen that in spades. He is our best chance for victory in what could be a very tough race,” Trump said. “This is not an easy endorsement for me to make because I like and respect some of the other candidates in the race — they’ve said great things about ‘Trump’ and, like me, they love Ohio and love our Country. I’ve studied this race closely and I think J.D. is the most likely to take out the weak, but dangerous, Democrat opponent.”

All eyes will now be on future polling in the Buckeye State. When Trump’s endorsement landed late last week, Vance trailed former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, 28 percent to 22.6 percent, in one recent poll by the Trafalgar Group.

Will Vance get a “Trump bump” and overtake Mandel, which would amount to a sign the former president remains his party’s most powerful force?

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