Vance defeats Ryan for US Senate


(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Republican Sen.-elect JD Vance speaks during an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio.

Colin Moorhead II, Staff Reporter

After several months of campaigning, Ohio voters decided to elect J.D. Vance (R) to the open U.S. Senate over Tim Ryan (D). The race was called around 11:14 pm on Tuesday evening with less than 94% of the vote being counted, as it ended up being a much closer race than many anticipated initially. Vance carried the election with 53.4% of the vote, leaving Ryan with 46.5%. This was a critical seat in these midterm elections with Ryan hoping to turn Rob Portman’s republican seat democrat. 

Some of the significant areas that contributed to this win were in Northeast Ohio. Counties such as Geauga, Ashtabula and Trumbull voted for Vance over Ryan, all of which were decisive for both the 2016 and 2020 elections for President Donald Trump, thanks to Ohio’s largely rural population. The results in each county closely followed the same percentages as the 2020 election. 

Despite the victory, Vance could not garner the same share of votes that Gov. Mike DeWine received for his reelection. DeWine received 62.5% of the vote against his opponent, Nan Whaley. Colin Swearingen, professor of political science, thought this gap was due to  “DeWine [being much] better liked.” Swearingen explained. “He’s spent decades in public service and has crafted a brand that is similar to the traditional Republican of 20 years ago.  On the other hand, Vance is a political newcomer who struggled mightily in the Senate primary until Trump endorsed him.” 

Ryan’s campaign was very successful in making this election much closer than many thought it would. Swearingen stated, “Overall it was a solid strategy,” 

“He had a plan – run as a moderate who supports some of Trump’s policies while embracing traditional Democratic positions – and he executed it.” stated Swearingen, but “Ohio’s Republican lean ended up being the difference-maker that Ryan’s fundraising and moderate appeal could not overcome.”

Overall, this election was in line with Swearingen’s initial judgments. He stated, “It ended up being about where I thought it would be. I expected a roughly 5% Vance victory. Right now, the margin is 6.5%, but there are some absentee ballots left to count.  These will likely lean Democratic and favor Ryan a bit.” 

After his victory, Vance said to his crowd of supporters, “Whether you voted for me or not,” he remarked, “the thing that I promise to do is go to the United States Senate and fight every single day for the people of Ohio.” 

In a phone call between the two candidates, Ryan admitted defeat and stated, “The way this country operates is that when you lose an election, you concede.” With the high amount of support the state of Ohio has had for former President Trump in both 2016 and 2020, many donors felt it was a waste of investment, which left Ryan to fight for himself against Trump and Vance.   With Ryan’s defeat and a strong victory by Gov. DeWine, many assume Ohio is a solid Republican state and has moved away from its legendary swing state status. Despite this victory, Republicans still have a long way to go before can declare victory over President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats in the 2024 election cycle.