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Trump Jr. to campaign with J.D. Vance in Ohio following father’s endorsement

CLEVELAND — Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance — fresh off an endorsement from Donald Trump — is scheduled to campaign this week with the former president’s namesake son.

Donald Trump Jr. will headline a town hall-style forum with Vance on Wednesday afternoon in the Cleveland suburb of Independence, according to details the campaign shared with NBC News.

“I’m proud to join my father in supporting my friend and America First champion J.D. Vance for U.S. Senate,” Trump Jr. said in an emailed statement. “J.D. is the right choice for Ohio, and I am looking forward to joining him on the campaign trail this week.”

April 16, 202202:37

The elder Trump has a Saturday rally scheduled in Delaware, Ohio, where he’s expected to talk more about his endorsement of Vance. By backing the venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author, Trump has shaken up an already chaotic and crowded Republican Senate primary. Other candidates had claimed more loyalty to the former president and called attention to Vance’s past criticism of Trump. But Vance, a Marine veteran and Yale Law School graduate, has impressed Trump with “brains and brawn,” according to the endorsement statement that the former president issued.

Trump Jr. signaled a preference for Vance last month with a series of supportive tweets after the first GOP Senate debates but stopped short of endorsing him in order not to get out in front of his father.

Polls conducted before Trump’s endorsement had shown Vance gaining ground. A Trafalgar Group survey released last week showed Josh Mandel, a former state treasurer, leading the GOP field with 28 percent of the vote, followed by Vance at almost 23 percent. Earlier polls had shown a close race between Mandel and investment banker Mike Gibbons. But Vance recently began spending money on TV ads, and the wealthy Gibbons, who has spent millions of his own dollars on ads, has come under fire for a past comment that the middle-class doesn’t pay a fair share in taxes.

On Monday, Vance’s campaign released a new TV ad, backed by about $500,000 worth of airtime, promoting the Trump endorsement.

“Trump fought back and so have I,” Vance says in the ad. “Now, I’ll take our fight to the U.S. Senate.”