A possible bid by Donald Trump to regain the White House in 2024 has been boosted after a candidate he backed won a Republican Senate primary in Ohio.

JD Vance, a venture capitalist who wrote a memoir called Hillbilly Elegy, took almost a third of the vote, according to Edison Research.

The 37-year-old said in his book that he identifies with the “millions of working-class Americans who have no college degree”.

Once highly critical of Mr Trump, he has since rowed back, and his campaign was buoyed by a late endorsement from the former president.

He finished ahead of former state treasurer Josh Mandel, also a Trump supporter.

A Trump spokesperson said the billionaire’s endorsement “propelled (Vance) into a commanding first place finish”.

“I have absolutely got to thank the 45th, the president of the United States, Donald J Trump,” Mr Vance told the crowd at his election night party in Cincinnati.

Criticising unnamed media outlets which he claimed had campaigned for both his and Mr Trump’s defeat, he added: “Ladies and gentlemen, it ain’t the death of the America First agenda.”

The campaign had been a “referendum on what kind of a Republican Party we want, and what kind of a country we want”, he said.

David Niven, a political scientist from the University of Cincinnati, said it was a “big night for Trumpism in the Ohio Republican Party”.

The field was “dominated by candidates trying to out-Trump each other”, he added.

JD Vance at an election night watch party in Cincinnati. Pic: AP
Image:
JD Vance at his election night watch party in Cincinnati. Pic: AP

While Mr Trump has not announced any formal plans to run again in 2024, he has hinted it is something he is considering.

Earlier this year, he said he would pardon supporters who took part in the Capitol riots were he to return to the White House.

While Mr Vance was born in Ohio, his book recounts his upbringing in Appalachian Kentucky.

He writes in it: “I am a Scottish-Irish hillbilly at heart.

“I identify with the millions of working-class white Americans of Scots-Irish descent who have no college degree.

“To these folks, poverty is the family tradition – their ancestors were day labourers in the Southern slave economy, share-croppers after that, and machinists and millworkers during more recent times.

“Americans call them hillbillies, rednecks or white trash. I call them neighbours, friends and family.”

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