Republican Senate hopeful JD Vance stops at Independence

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — U.S. Senate Republican hopeful JD Vance took his “No BS Tour” to Independence on Friday, kicking off day two of a six-day tour of 13 cities in the state. At LA Pete’s Restaurant, he explained why he should be the one to replace Rob Portman in the Senate next year.

“We need to send someone to the Senate who doesn’t cater to Democratic or Republican elites, actually serves the people,” Vance told News 5. “I think a lot of the problems we have in this country, whether it’s the immigration crisis that benefits companies that want cheap labor, does not benefit law and order in our communities, the manufacturing crisis benefits companies that like to move jobs to the outsider, doesn’t benefit the middle class workers here in Ohio, it’s really about going back and fighting against those people for the people of Ohio.

The “Hillbilly Elegy” author is one of six candidates running in the Republican primary in May. It’s a list that includes Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, Mike Gibbons, Bernie Moreno and Matt Dolan. Vance said his focus was not on them but on the people in front of him.

“No, I think you have to run your own race. I mean it’s ultimately about the people, the voters, and hopefully what I can do for those voters. I’m trying not to focus on the other candidates,” he said.

It may be, but the focus has been on him; Vance was the target last fall of ads run against him by the political action committee Club for Growth Action for his 2016 statements against Donald Trump. Vance says the hit was expected.

“We knew people were going to hit us with money, we knew when we started to gain momentum people were going to come after us with negative ads, that’s what happens in politics and if you can’t survive it, you shouldn’t be in public service in the first place.

And his message to Trump supporters that he will need in May about these critical comments?

“I was wrong,” Vance said. “I think it’s pretty simple when the facts change in this country, you should change your mind, and Trump was, I think, a very good president for the people of Ohio, he was a very good president for the country. You have to be honest with people, at the end of the day, I can’t hide from the fact that I criticized him six years ago, nor am I going to hide from the fact that I think that he was a great president and I have supported him for several years.”

As for the former president’s recent comments calling out politicians who don’t disclose their vaccination status?

“I’m open about it. I got the vaccine, I got the coronavirus, I was fine, I haven’t been boosted and at the moment I don’t plan to.”

For now, Vance said he’s focused on the fun part of the race, making his closing argument to voters as they count down to the May 3 primary.

“We’re going to be out there on TV in a big way to make sure I get my message out to people who maybe can’t come to town halls like this, so we have four months to go. We’re definitely going to be pretty aggressive over the next four months and I think people will see what we’re doing hopefully in the next two weeks,” he said.

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