J.D. Vance, the Hillbilly Elegy author/Ohio GOP U.S. Senate candidate, walked back his pro-Putin, anti-Ukraine rhetoric after the backlash he received for saying he wants to cut off funding to the sovereign nation amid Russia’s invasion.
Voters in his native Ohio voiced their opposition to the Republican’s stance.
Irene Stolar, a resident of Parma, Ohio, one of the largest enclaves of Ukrainian migrants in the country, said:
“Definitely not this year, with J.D. Vance saying that Ukraine doesn’t matter,” said Stolar, during a break from her shift as host at Olesia’s Taverne, a busy Ukrainian restaurant. She recalled being upset earlier this year, when Vance said on a podcast interview just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “I gotta be honest with you. I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another.”
Stolar isn’t alone in her sentiment. Those in the Ukrainian community have thrown their support to Democratic opponents.
The Ukrainian population of Ohio has traditionally leaned Republican because of the party’s forceful criticism of communism. But that could change this year, The Washington Post wrote:
“Anna Barrett, president of the credit union, said she will vote for a Democratic candidate for the first time in her life. ‘I certainly could not support Mr. Vance based on what he has said,’ she said. Like others, Barrett has been working around-the-clock to fundraise and send supplies to Europe.”
Ukrainian refugees have a stronghold in Ohio, and Vance’s pro-Russian aggression stance isn’t sitting well with the community.
“’J.D. is going to have to prove himself to the Ukrainians,’ said Strongsville Mayor Thomas Perciak, a Republican, at the clambake after Vance left. ‘I stand by the Ukrainian community, and they know it,’” The Washington Post reported.
Yes, Vance will need to prove himself. But the flip-flopping elitist has proven above all else, that he cares less about his constituents than his wallet.
Original reporting by Cara McGoogan at The Washington Post.
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