Joanne Mondak, 71, said she voted for state Sen. Matt Dolan, the only major candidate who did not aggressively court Trump. The rest of the field, she said, are “nutcakes” who are “too much Trump.”

Bestselling author JD Vance has won Ohio’s contentious and hyper-competitive GOP Senate primary, buoyed by Donald Trump’s endorsement in a race widely seen as an early test of the former president’s hold on his party as the midterm season kicks into high gear, AP reports.

Vance’s win brings to a close an exceptionally bitter and expensive primary contest that, at one point, saw two candidates nearly come to blows on a debate stage. And it marks a major victory for Trump, who has staked his reputation as a GOP kingmaker on his ability to pull his chosen candidates across the finish line.

Vance had been behind in the polls before Trump waded into the race less than three weeks ago, endorsing the “Hillbilly Elegy” author and venture capitalist despite Vance’s history as a staunch Trump critic. Vance has since said he was wrong and, like most of his rivals, tied himself to the former president, eagerly courting his endorsement and running on his “America First” platform, underscoring the extent to which the GOP has transformed in his image.

Vance will face Democrat Tim Ryan, the 10-term Democratic congressman who easily won his three-way primary Tuesday night. But November’s general election to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman is expected to be an uphill climb for Ryan in a state Trump won twice by an 8-point margin and in what is expected to be a brutal election year for Democrats trying to hold their congressional majorities.

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