One of the most powerful groups in Republican politics is sticking with its pick in Ohio’s messy GOP Senate primary, despite attacks rolling in from top Trump allies who back a rival candidate, and despite Trump himself unleashing his temper at GOP allies.
The Club for Growth has long been seen as a top GOP group. It is an anti-tax organization that supports former state treasurer Josh Mandel in the election.
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has endorsed venture capitalist J.D. Vance, author of “The Hillbilly Elegy,” despite the fact that Vance has previously criticized him.
The Club for Growth has begun airing a new ad taking direct aim at Vance. In the ad, actors portraying Ohio voters are shown old footage of Vance knocking Trump. In one clip, Vance declares that he is “a Never Trump guy.” This is a label that was used by Republicans who refused to support Trump in 2016 and in 2020. In another clip, Vance suggests he might vote for Trump’s 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The partnership between Trump and Club for Growth chief David McIntosh has come to a screeching halt. The fallout comes after the Club for Growth refused to end its negative ad against Vance at Trump’s behest, and instead doubled down with new ads against Vance and formally backed state treasurer Mandel.
When McIntosh defied Trump’s wishes, Trump reportedly asked an intermediary to deliver a message that said “go f*ck yourself”. Since then, the two haven’t spoken.
Yesterday, the Club launched a new ad again targeting Vance for past Trump criticisms, and highlighted Trump’s past endorsement of Mitt Romeny’s 2018 Senate campaign in Utah.
Trump has been quickly exiled from World Trump, leaving some Republican candidates reeling, experts say. Meanwhile, Club for Growth is reportedly grappling with frustrated board members and donors, who worry that its influence will plunge if it does not quickly patch up the relationship with Trump.