Republican Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance has won Ohio’s Senate election over Democratic opponent Tim Ryan, DecisionDeskHQ projects.
Decision Desk made the projection at 11:03 p.m. EST.
Polls leading up to the election showed Vance with a razor-thin edge over Ryan. Vance pulled ahead of his opponent after the candidates faced each other in a pair of debates last month.
The senator-elect will succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who announced last year that he would not seek a third term.
Vance, a venture capitalist who first became known through his 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” ran on a platform of being an outsider who “knows what it’s like to live in a left-behind community” and will fight for normal Americans.
Vance, who was endorsed by former President Trump in April, ran on a conservative platform that included reining in spending to slow inflation, ending abortion, gaining energy independence, restoring manufacturing jobs in Ohio, finishing the southern border wall, breaking up big tech companies, combating the opioid epidemic, and ensuring election integrity.
Ryan, who represents the Buckeye State’s 13th Congressional District, has served in the House of Representatives since 2003. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019 before dropping out of the race to run for re-election to Congress.
Ryan ran for Senate as a moderate Democrat, at times attempting to distance himself from Democratic Party brass like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden, whose job approval numbers have been in the basement recently.
His platform included codifying the abortion laws laid out in Roe v. Wade, expanding capital access for minority-owned businesses, investing in Ohio’s infrastructure, expanding Medicare, strengthening border security, and passing the Equality Act, which would change the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The election was one of the most closely watched Senate races this election cycle along with Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.
The winners of these races will decide the balance of power in the upper chamber. Democrats and Republicans currently hold 50 seats each, but Democrats currently control the majority due to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Vance and Ryan sparred over a number of hot-button issues during the campaign, including racism, the economy, and election integrity.
During their last debate, Ryan attempted to paint Vance as part of a fringe element, saying he is “running around with the election deniers, the extremists.”
Vance responded that Ryan is focused on the wrong concerns.
“I find it interesting how preoccupied you are with this at a time when people can’t afford groceries,” Vance said.
The candidates appeared together again at a Fox News town hall just a week before Election Day, where they took questions from the audience and emphasized their top issues.
Vance said that he believes big technology companies “in bed with the communist Chinese” pose the greatest threat to American democracy. He also said the opioid crisis and the border crisis could both be stopped by finishing the border wall and classifying drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
Ryan meanwhile made a play for the moderate vote, acknowledging that “crime is an issue” and saying he supports a middle class tax cut. However, on the economy, he admitted that the renewable energy items in the Inflation Reduction Act, which Ryan supported, will probably not immediately help Americans struggling with gas prices.