COLUMBUS, Ohio – The U.S. Senate primary campaign of Jane Timken has released a poll showing she has climbed into a strong second-place performance against rival candidates named in the poll ahead of the Ohio GOP primary in early May.

The interactive voice response poll of 1,000 likely Republican primary voters shows her challenging former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for frontrunner status while putting distance between rivals Mike Gibbons and J.D. Vance.

The poll, conducted November 29 by the Moore Information Group, shows the former chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party attracting 17 percent of those suveyed vs. 21 percent for Mandel. In a September poll, Timken had an 11 percent showing – just behind Cleveland businessman Gibbons at 12 percent – vs. Mandel at 22 percent.

“Despite starting with a significant name ID advantage in early 2021, (Mandel) has only managed to increase his percentage of the ballot (poll) from 20 percent to 22 percent,” remarks accompanying the poll said.

Tech investor and “Hillbilly Elegy” author Vance, meantime, edged down to 9 percent vs. 10 in the previous poll.

The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

“We’re working hard every day, traveling to all corners of Ohio talking and listening to Ohio families with a relentless focus on fighting for parents and stopping the disastrous agenda of Joe Biden and the Left,” Timken said in the press release.

The poll also showed Timken’s favorable rating surging to 29 percent in the recent survey, significantly higher than the 19 percent favorable marks she had in September. The unfavorable rating stayed steady at 12 percent vs. 11 two months earlier.

The poll results released did not show Mandel’s favorable/unfavorable image ratings.

But it did note the momentum of positive views for Vance has stalled at 22 percent – vs. 20 in September – while unfavorable ratings “took a huge hit” as it increased from 12 percent to 26 percent.

“His image is now upside down,” the poll remarks noted, “with more having an unfavorable opinion than an unfavorable one.”

Gibbons campaign on track

The Vance and Mandel campaigns declined to comment when The Ohio Star asked for their reaction to the Timken poll.

But an October poll from a pro-Vance PAC showed Mandel at 19 percent in the crowded race, just three percentage points behind Mandel. The latter campaign said its late September poll had Mandel at 34 percent to Vance’s 13 percent.

A relentless series of anti-Vance ads from outside PACs supporting Mandel could explain any slip suggested in the Timken campaign’s survey.

The Club for Growth Action PAC and USA Freedom Fund, independent super PACs supporting Mandel, have been hammering Vance on the airwaves since mid-October for his criticism of then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2015 and 2016.

While Vance has since voiced support for Trump’s policies, the Gibbons campaign this week also released its own anti-Vance TV ad¬†built around many of the same dated Vance comments caught on video.

Responding to Timken’s poll, the Gibbons camp shared a Dec. 2 internal status memo shared with The Star stating the campaign “is in a position to win” after a steady stream of ads boosting Gibbons’ name recognition to 60 percent with high second-choice numbers the campaign said is pivotal in a race with so many candidates.

“Every poll released has Mike Gibbons in second or third place, (and) within ten points of Josh Mandel,” the internal strategy memo said. “Our own polling matches these results.”

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Brian R. Ball is a veteran Columbus journalist writing for The Ohio Star and Star News Network. Send him news tips to [email protected]
Photo “Jane Timken” by Jane Timken For U.S. Senate.