Why Is Club for Growth Trolling J.D. Vance and Donald Trump?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News AM, when I came across this item about the GOP Senate primary in Ohio.

→ Here’s an ad that may anger former President Donald Trump. Club for Growth is up statewide with a spot that reminds voters that J.D. Vance was once a “Never Trumper.” Of course, Trump has now endorsed Vance.

What’s up with that, Doc? Why would an established conservative group want to tick off Trump, who can always count on his legion of Trumpiacs to fight back?

– Trumper Thumper

Dear Double T,

Well, for starters, The Club for Growth has endorsed former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel in that race. Beyond that, it’s pretty clear that J.D. Vance, the author of the best-seller Hillbilly Elegy, is a total phony who went from Never Trumper to MAGAt in under 60 seconds because embracing the Big Cheeto has become the cover charge in virtually every GOP primary.

The Club for Growth ad neatly yokes Vance to Trump’s favorite chew toy, Hillary Clinton.

Drive Trump nuts graf: Vance says in the ad “Definitely, some people who voted for Trump . . . voted for him for racist reasons.”

As New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman noted, “Mr. Trump’s response was brutish: He had an assistant send Mr. McIntosh a short text message telling him off in the most vulgar terms. The group, one of the few that actually spends heavily in primary races, responded by saying it would increase its spending on the ad.”

Rob Crilly’s Daily Mail piece was even more graphic.

Trump tells head of influential conservative group ‘go f*** yourself’ after they decided to spend MORE on anti-J.D. Vance commercials despite his endorsement in Ohio

Donald Trump reportedly dumped on the president of the Club for Growth on Thursday, after the conservative group bought more airtime for anti-J.D. Vance adverts in Ohio despite the former president endorsing the Hillbilly Elegy author.

The conservative group is backing Josh Mandel in an increasingly bitter fight for the Republican Senate nomination in the state, with 13 days left in the primary.

And on Thursday, it reupped an ad composed of some of Vance’s past anti-Trump comments.

The result was a furious text message sent by a Trump aide to David McIntosh, the group’s president.

‘Hi Mr. McIntosh,’ it said, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. ‘The president shares this message with you: Go f*** yourself.’

Haberman also noted that “Trump announced his endorsement on Friday, upending a race that had seen Vance, a former Marine, trailing in third or fourth place. But internal polling on Thursday suggested he had leapt into a commanding lead at the same time as a surge in fundraising.”

Over at Real Clear Politics, the polling numbers are more nuanced than Haberman has suggested. Here’s what happened between April 14 and April 24,

So while Vance is essentially treading water after Trump’s endorsement, Mandel has gone underwater.

One last thing: Why Troll Trump? Politics, of course. But also, it’s just so much fun.

Why Did Josh Mandel Go to Someone Even Less Likable Than Himself for a Senate Primary Endorsement?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News AM, when I came across this item.

Well, he doesn’t have Donald Trump’s endorsement, but Josh Mandel has a new spot with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who urges Ohio voters to send the former Buckeye State treasurer to the Senate. Mandel is seeking the GOP nomination for the Ohio Senate seat. The spot is running statewide.

Wait, what? 

Josh Mandel, a candidate too creepy for Trump, went to Ted Cruz, a politician too creepy for his entire life, for an endorsement?

How does that work, Doc?

– Buckeyed

Dear Buckeyed,

First, let’s establish the mala fides of the fulsome twosome: Here are the search results for Josh Mandel gutter and the search results for Ted Cruz hated.

As for the despicable in support of the deplorable . . .

You might ask, why would Mandel tout an endorsement from a universally reviled politician? This Associated Press piece by Jill Colvin and Julie Carr Smyth might provide a clue.

Josh Mandel runs Ohio GOP Senate campaign ‘through churches’

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (AP) — Before digging into his six-egg omelet at a bustling northeast Ohio diner, Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel stopped to bow his head.

“Bless our food, our time, our conversation, in Jesus’ name,” said Pastor J.C. Church, who joined Mandel after a campaign event at a local church. ”Amen.”

The scene encapsulated Mandel’s campaign strategy as he competes in a crowded field of Republican contenders ahead of Ohio’s May 3 primary. He is a Jewish candidate who makes no secret of his faith, but who is centering his campaign around evangelical churches as he tries to win over religious, conservative voters.

(A six-egg omelet? If that’s not the Christiaan Barnard Special, the Doc doesn’t know what is.)

There’s no doubt Cruz is popular with evangelicals, but Mandel might want to consider a little Cruz control after the Texas solon attacked a high-profile opponent of Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill on his latest podcast, as the redoubtable Bess Levin detailed in Vanity Fair.

Senator Ted Cruz . . . recently suggested that because Disney decided to speak out against the bigoted Florida legislation—after receiving backlash from its employees for initially refusing to do so—it’s obviously going to introduce NC-17 story lines to its children’s programming.

In an extremely weird set of remarks, even for him, the Texas lawmaker opined at a live recording of his podcast, Verdict With Ted Cruz: “I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive, you know, Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re gonna have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really? It’s just like, come on guys, these are kids, and you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that.

And that’s not even Mandel’s biggest problem. The Cruz endorsement clearly falls within the knife-to-a-gunfight category, as this new spot from opponent JD Vance illustrates.

Donald Trump’s endorsement has helped Vance reopen the money spigots from his sugar daddy, Peter Thiel – the tech  billionaire who bankrolled Vance early, then ghosted him – as Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported.

Vance parlays Trump endorsement into new Thiel money

Ohio Republican J.D. Vance is cashing in on his endorsement from former President Donald Trump with a major new super PAC donation from billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel.

Thiel has donated $3.5 million to Protect Ohio Values, the super PAC backing Vance, according to a person familiar with the contribution — part of a broader tranche of money that has come in to support the Senate candidate after last week’s Trump endorsement, which shook up a crowded and competitive race for the GOP nomination.

(For those of you keeping score at home, both Vance and Mandel have felt compelled to run ads proclaiming “I’m not a racist,” which pretty much speaks for itself. A third candidate – Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons – conveniently rounds out the primary’s racism trifecta.)

Here’s where the race stood, according to Real Clear Politics, as of April 14th.

We’ll soon see if a Trump endorsement is the right prescription for getting JD Vance over the hump. The Ohio primary is May 3rd.