J.D. Vance is headed to the Senate.
With 88 percent of precincts reporting as of 11:15 p.m. ET, NBC, CNN, and Fox News project that the Hillbilly Elegy author will defeat Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in Ohio's closely watched Senate race. It marks a major victory for Republicans, though not a pick-up, since Vance will be filling the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). He was seen as a favorite in the close race, having led Ryan in recent polls.
Vance is a venture capitalist and author who is perhaps best known for writing the 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, in which he discusses his upbringing in Ohio. Director Ron Howard adapted it into a movie in 2020. After the 2016 election, some looked at the book to help explain former President Donald Trump's victory. In an August 2016 review, The New York Times said that Vance had offered "a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive the politics of rebellion, particularly the ascent of" Trump.
Trump, who won Ohio by 8 points in 2020, endorsed Vance in the race and held a rally for him on the eve of the election — despite the fact that Vance criticized the former president in the past and even reportedly suggested he might be "America's Hitler" in private texts. Vance "may have said some not-so-great things about me in the past," Trump said, "but he gets it now."