What you need to know about Vance, DeSantis 'Unite & Win' rally Friday

J.D. Vance will take the stage at 7:30 p.m, followed by Gov. DeSantis at 7:50 p.m., and the close of the event by 8:20 p.m.
Thursday, August 18th 2022, 5:18 PM EDT
AP Photo/LM Otero


The Trump-endorsed Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance will be at the GOP's Unite & Win event Friday night in Liberty Township. Joining Vance will be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

Unite & Win rallies have been held recently in New Mexico and Arizona, and one today in Pittsburgh, followed by tonight's here in the Valley.

DeSantis is attending all of the 'Unite & Win' rallies, with Turning Point Action hosting and organizing the rallies with DeSantis, with the intent to 'unite' the Republican Party.

The need to unite the party comes after a series of contentious primaries in which Trump-backed candidates faced off against other Republicans, some of whom pledged allegiance to the former president and others who struck a decidedly different course, criticizing the January 6 insurrection attempt and lies about the 2020 election. 

Those candidates who've been critical, such as Wyoming's Liz Cheney, have largely been defeated in their primaries, but by varying margins, leaving some questions about the general election strength of some nominees. 

In the case of Vance, he won Ohio's crowded GOP field, vaulting from third place to first after receiving the Trump endorsement. However, that endorsement brought controversy, including a letter signed by dozens of Ohio GOP leaders asking the former president to reconsider his pick.

Vance received around 33 percent of the vote, meaning that nearly 68 percent of Ohio Republican voters were not swayed by the Trump endorsement. 

Turning Point Action is run by a conservative nonprofit operated by Charlie Kirk.

The event is by ticket only but open to the public. 

The schedule for tonight's event is doors open at 6 p.m., with J.D. Vance taking the stage at 7:30 p.m, followed by Gov. DeSantis at 7:50 p.m., and the event closes by 8:20 p.m.

21 News will cover tonight's event only after receiving a waiver from strict media restrictions that the event sponsor, Turning Point Action, asked all media to agree to before entering.

The Washington Post earlier this week reported on the restrictions for the event.

Media restrictions on political events are unusual, but the media policy for the Unite & Win rallies states Turning Point Action and its vendors have the right to access media footage shot at the event, stating that the event organizers also have the right to know in what manner the footage will be utilized. 

Monica Nieporte, the president and executive director of the Ohio News Media Association, told 21 News, "We would agree that if an individual person requests not to be filmed or recorded, journalists should honor that and respect any areas deemed ahead of time to be 'off limits' since this is not an open event held in a public space."

Nieporte said that ONMA does not agree that the Unite & Win Rally has any standing to be asking for blanket access to the content that is created by journalists in exchange for permission to cover their event. "The journalists work for their media outlet and not for the Vance campaign. Their content is owned by their employer," Nieporte said.

Turning Point Action spokesperson Andrew Kolvet said that the language in the media restrictions is standardized text the event organizers use at all events, as they host many youth-centered rallies, and the policy is designed to protect minors. 

The rally is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Aug 19, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. at the Metroplex, 1620 Motor Inn Dr., Liberty.