State GOP recruits new speaker for annual dinner following departure of Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance

U.S. Senate candidate and author JD Vance will no longer speak at the Minnesota Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Reagan dinner, with a state party official citing a scheduling conflict.

Vance’s cancellation comes after he received criticism both inside and outside the party over a recent comment he made that seemed dismissive of Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Vance said last month on an episode of Steve Bannon’s War Room: “I don’t care what happens to Ukraine one way or another.” Days later, he released a statement saying Russia’s assault on Ukraine “is unquestionably a tragedy,” but some Minnesota Republicans expressed concern over his earlier remarks.

The Minnesota GOP posted on social media on Wednesday that Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union – the organization behind the Conservative Political Action Conference – will be the keynote speaker at the fundraiser for the left April 1.

“We are thrilled to have Matt Schlapp, CPAC President and author of ‘The Desecrators’, as our keynote speaker and look forward to a successful event!” Minnesota Republican Party Executive Director Mike Lonergan said in a statement. He added: “We look forward to welcoming JD Vance when the schedule allows.”

Vance, a venture capitalist and author of the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” is running for the Ohio seat opened by retired GOP Sen. Rob Portman. His stop in Minnesota was scheduled as he traveled to Ohio to host city events for his “No BS Tour”.

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