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EXCLUSIVE: A month into Ohio’s fiery race to succeed retired GOP Sen. Rob Portman, Democratic nominee Rep. Tim Ryan is once again using Republican flag bearer JD Vance’s past words as verbal ammunition.

In a campaign where both candidates highlight their populist credentials and show their tough stances on China, Ryan in a new campaign ad highlights a five-year-old interview with Vance where the venture capitalist era seemed to shift the blame away from free trade agreements. with countries like China for the loss of American manufacturing jobs.

And Ryan, who championed the working class during his nearly two decades in Congress representing a working-class district in northeastern Ohio, boasts in the ad that he agreed with the then president. , Donald Trump, to oppose free trade agreements.

NEW POLL: JD VANCE HOLDS A SLIGHT ADVANTAGE OVER REP. TIM RYAN IN OHIO SENATE RACE

The spot, which was first shared with Fox News Digital on Friday, begins with an audio clip of Vance from a 2017 podcast saying “I think you can make a pretty good point that it wasn’t necessarily bad trade deals… You know, it’s not that we have this terrible trade deal with China.”

The ad then cuts to Ryan, standing in what appears to be a deserted factory, saying “wrong.” Ryan keeps blaming this in San Francisco, JD Vance made millions profiting from globalization.”

Vance, known to many as the best-selling author of his memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” lived during a stint in California while working as a director at a tech industry venture capital firm owned by the tech giant. billionaire hedge fund Peter Thiel.

And trying to turn the tide on Trump-backed Vance, Ryan points out: “I agreed with Trump on trade. I voted against outsourcing every time. We have to be tough on China. And I will work with anyone to fix our supply chains and bring manufacturing back home. Let’s do things in Ohio again.

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Ryan’s campaign tells Fox News that the new ad is part of their ongoing statewide seven-figure ad campaign. And this is the congressman’s second general election where he is targeting Vance using the GOP nominee’s past words against himself.

The previous ad featured a podcast from 2016 where Vance suggested that “maybe we have to confess and admit” that a 55-year-old man in Dayton, Ohio who has worked his whole life in manufacturing “may not be able to find a good working salary for the rest of his professional life.

The Vance campaign, pushing back against the new ad, pointed to a tweet by Ryan from July 7, 2018, when the congressman wrote that Trump’s tariffs were “designed to inflict maximum damage on the American economy, for gain.” minimal”.

After his years in California, Vance returned to his native Ohio and started his own venture capital firm with the backing of Thiel and other investors. Last year, he jumped into the crowded and combative Ohio Senate GOP primary and made his tough talk on China and his support for the centerpieces of his campaign’s Trump “America First” agenda. populist style.

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Vance surged after winning the former president’s endorsement less than three weeks before the May 3 primary in Ohio, and thanks to Trump’s backing, he ended up winning a very hard-fought nomination.

Senate candidate JD Vance, left, greets former President Donald Trump during a rally at the Delaware County Fairground, April 23, 2022, in Delaware, Ohio. Vance’s endorsement of Trump propelled the candidate to victory in the May 3 GOP Senate primary. (AP Photo/Joe Maiorana, File)
(AP Photo/Joe Maiorana, File)

Days later, at a Trump rally in neighboring Pennsylvania, Vance again underlined his tough stance on China and companies that outsource jobs to the Asian powerhouse, pointing out, “We need to stop being weak to China. We need to stop sending American jobs to people who hate us.”

Ryan, a center-left politician who has long showcased his heartfelt heritage and ability to connect with working-class white voters in the Rust Belt, had a much easier time winning his party’s nomination. as he easily beat two lesser-known rivals.

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The congressman has long highlighted his efforts to defend workers and their jobs, as well as Beijing’s influence. In March, in his first television ad of his Senate campaign, Ryan lamented that “China is manufacturing us left and right” and stressed that “America can never be dependent on Communist China.”

Vance accused Ryan of copying his rhetoric and said his rival presents himself as “a Democratic Trump”.

And in response to Ryan’s announcement, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik told Fox News that “JD Vance is an America-first fighter who knows what it takes to putting the interests of Ohio workers ahead of communist China”.

And he argued that “the fake Tim Ryan may be adopting a new campaign talking point, but Ohioans remember vividly that Ryan took issue with President Trump’s tough stance on the China and allowed President Biden to destroy our credibility on the world stage with his failed policies.”

Democratic Senate candidate Representative Tim Ryan answers a question during the Ohio U.S. Senate Democratic primary debate Monday, March 28, 2022 at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.  (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, Pool)

Democratic Senate candidate Representative Tim Ryan answers a question during the Ohio U.S. Senate Democratic primary debate Monday, March 28, 2022 at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, Pool)
(Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

It’s no surprise that both candidates have repeatedly taken aim at each other’s working-class credentials.

Ohio, once a major battleground in the general election that gave then-President George W. Bush his re-election in 2004, has seen a redder trend in recent cycles, thanks in part to the Trump’s major gains with working-class voters. Former President Barack Obama, re-elected in 2012, and populist Senator Sherrod Brown, re-elected in 2018, were the last two Democrats to win statewide in Ohio.

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But a USA Today Network Ohio/Suffolk University survey released Wednesday indicated Vance had a 2-point advantage over Ryan among likely general election voters in Buckeye State.

The showdown could potentially become one of the few contests that will determine whether Republicans win back a majority in the Senate in November’s midterm elections.

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