Polls show the two major party candidates in a tight race for an open Ohio Senate seat, while incumbent GOP Governor Mike DeWine has a major advantage in his reelection campaign, as former President Donald Trump is slated to arrive in the state Saturday evening for a “Save America” rally.
Trump is set to speak at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, to drum up support for Republican candidates ahead of the November midterms. GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance is expected to appear at the event, while a spokesperson for DeWine told Newsweek Friday that the governor hasn’t made a decision yet about whether he’ll attend.
The latest polling average in the Senate race compiled by FiveThirtyEight shows the Democratic candidate, Representative Tim Ryan, slightly ahead of Vance—with 44.7 percent of voters backing Ryan and 44.1 percent supporting Vance.
However, the most recent poll in the race, a survey from Emerson College and The Hill released on Friday, shows Vance with a 4 point lead over Ryan. Forty-four percent of voters said they’d vote for Vance, while 40 percent said they’d cast ballots for Ryan. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percent and surveyed 1,000 likely Ohio voters.
“Independent voters favor JD Vance by a two-point margin, 51% of which name the economy as their most important issue. Additionally, a stark gender divide exists on the Senate ballot, reflective of other Senate polling this cycle. Men break for Vance by 19 points, whereas women break for Ryan by eight points,” Spencer Kimball, the executive director of Emerson College polling, said in a statement.
Another poll from last week, however, found Ryan ahead in the race by just 1 percent. The survey from Suffolk University/USA TODAY showed Ryan with the backing of 47 percent voters, while Vance had support from 46 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percent and surveyed 500 likely midterm voters in Ohio.
In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Vance’s campaign attacked Ryan.
“Tim Ryan pretends to be a moderate in his slick TV ads, but behind closed doors, he admits he’s a progressive. He claims to be an independent voice, but in DC, he votes with Biden and Pelosi 100% of the time,” the spokesperson said. “JD was born and raised in Ohio—he knows Ohioans are smarter than Tim Ryan thinks they are—he knows they won’t fall for Ryan’s despicable lies and will reject him come November.”
Vance, along with Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia, are high-profile Senate candidates endorsed by the former president who have no previous political experience.
Meanwhile, in the state’s gubernatorial race, DeWine maintains a significant lead over his challenger, Nan Whaley, a former mayor of Dayton, Ohio. Overall, the FiveThirtyEight polling average shows the incumbent governor leading Whaley 50.1 percent to 36.7 percent.
The Emerson College poll released Friday found DeWine has support from 50 percent of Ohio voters, and Whaley has 33 percent. In addition, the Suffolk University poll found DeWine with just under 54 percent, and Whaley with just over 39 percent.
Newsweek has reached out to the Ryan, DeWine and Whaley campaigns for comment.