The Daily Beast has had some amazing political coverage on how bad the GOP U.S. Senate candidates have been running this year. Sam Brodey and Roger Sollenberger have a new piece that highlights how much the Ohio GOP has been freaking about how bad of a campaign J.D. Vance (R. OH) has been running to try and hold on to retiring U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s (R. OH) seat:

Bill Cunningham, a fixture on conservative talk radio airwaves in Cincinnati for decades, told The Daily Beast that voters, party activists, and even statewide officials are telling him that Vance has been phoning it in. Vance is allegedly missing from many of the county fairs, party meetings, and campaign stops where candidates in this state are expected to be.

“The Republican faithful are telling me,” Cunningham said, “they can’t find J.D. Vance with a search warrant.”

Others say it’s not just that they don’t see Vance—the anti-Trump literary celeb turned MAGA firebrand—pounding the pavement in Ohio. Privately, some aren’t even getting calls back from him, or his campaign, to discuss how they can help.

That group includes campaign donors whom Vance literally cannot afford to lose. The candidate’s fundraising has been anemic, and because he’s carrying debt from the bruising primary, Vance is in the unenviable position of asking donors to pay off those debts.

One GOP source in state politics said Vance’s lack of followup with some important donors in the state has been disappointing. “When the fundraising numbers came out, it’s full-on panic now,” they said.

“It’s a code red,” said Ron Verb, a longtime talk radio host in Youngstown, who has been sounding the alarm about Vance on his show. “I think he’s running the worst campaign that you could possibly run.”

Meanwhile, Republicans begrudgingly admit that the Democratic nominee, Rep. Tim Ryan, is perhaps running the best possible campaign from a Democrat in this increasingly conservative state.

Ryan has raised a staggering $12 million for his campaign so far. And he is using that war chest to blanket Ohio airwaves with ads touting his blue collar bona fides, amplifying his professed desire to break with fellow Democrats on key issues, like inflation and crime. (Notably, Ryan has been a reliable Democratic vote during his two decades in Congress.)

With Vance largely absent on the airwaves and the campaign trail, Republicans fret that Ryan is successfully defining himself before Vance is—and that time is running out for the Republican to right the ship.

A GOP source in state politics said it’s a “widespread trend” that Republicans officials are hearing in their networks about Ryan’s crossover appeal. “People who are Republicans are saying, ‘that Tim Ryan guy, he’s alright, I like the way he sounds,’” the GOP source said.

That’s why Vance’s mid-campaign venture to Israel especially rankled some Republicans. “Tim Ryan is talking about kitchen-table issues, and J.D. Vance is out there going to fucking CPAC in Israel,” said a veteran strategist with deep ties to the state. “Republicans are like, ‘Are you out of your fucking mind?’ This isn’t some fucking book tour, dude.”

Cunningham, the Cincinnati talk radio host, said he has been speaking regularly with Vance. He shared with The Daily Beast his advice to the candidate: “I told J.D., ‘This race is yours to lose, and at this point, you’re losing it.’ Your staff won’t tell you, but I just did.”

The proof is in the polling like this one that was released on July 22nd:

As part of Innovation Ohio’s role in supporting Ohio’s progressive infrastructure, we occasionally commission research to equip us and our partners with an understanding of the mood of the electorate and of policy solutions that will best improve the lives of working families. Research is vital to our organization’s ability to connect the dots between activism, advocacy, and policy making.

Today, we are sharing the results of a new poll of just over 2,000 Ohio registered voters, conducted online from July 5 – July 10 on the GrowProgress platform, on the state of the race for US Senate. In it, we find that Democrat Tim Ryan leads Republican J.D. Vance by 5 points, 46%-41%. Conducted over a month after our last poll and after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs Wade, the poll shows Republican voters remain reluctant to throw their support behind extremist J.D. Vance. Vance’s support among Republicans sits at 81%, while Ryan secures 90% of Democrats.

The share of voters who are undecided fell from 15% to 13% this month, driven primarily by movement among Republicans, 9% of whom remain undecided, compared to 14% last month. Republican support for Ryan increased from 7% to 10% during the same period.

Ryan’s advantage also increased from last month among key groups. Ryan leads by 23 points with women (54%-31%), up from 19 points last month (50%-31%) and among voters under the age of 30 by 18 points (48%-30%), up from 12 points (44%-32%) last month.

The poll also shows Ryan holding substantial leads among black voters, and those with a college degree. Vance, meanwhile, maintains an edge among white voters, those ages 55 and up and non-college voters.

By the way, loving these attacks from Ryan:

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Health and Democracy are on the ballot this year and we need to get ready to flip Ohio Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Ryan and his fellow Ohio Democrats campaigns:

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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