The venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy” looks set to join the overcrowded Republican race for the Ohio US Senate seat vacated by Rob Portman.
JD Vance, whose book was widely regarded in 2016 as helping to explain Republican Donald Trump’s appeal to struggling white working-class voters, predicts a “special announcement” and rally at steel maker Middletown Tube Works in his hometown of Ohio on Thursday.
If he enters the race, Vance would face former State GOP President Jane Timken, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel and two Cleveland businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno during the next year’s GOP primary.
Portman, a Republican, decided earlier this year not to run for a third term, citing dismay at the partisan standoff.
While Vance, 38, has never run for elected office before, a political action committee formed this year to encourage his candidacy received a $ 10 million contribution from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. Vance had worked for the billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur in California.
Vance returned to his home state to live after Trump was elected in 2016, which was the first of two times the former president has won Ohio by 8 percentage points.
Vance’s book, turned into a film starring Amy Adams and Glenn Close which earned the latter a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination, chronicles his difficult and colorful upbringing in the steel town of Middletown, Ohio and his family roots. in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky.
He then served in the Marines, most notably in Iraq, and was successful at Ohio State University and Yale Law School, from which he graduated in 2013, and in the tech industry of Silicon Valley.
Vance said upon his return to Ohio in 2016 that he hoped to help with drug addiction efforts. He and his wife, Usha Chilukuri Vance, moved to Cincinnati, where he helped found a venture capital firm.
Among Vance’s close associates is Jai Chabria, a longtime strategist to former Republican Gov. John Kasich, Trump’s 2016 presidential rival and detractor of the former president.
Vance and Usha, who met at Yale Law, have two children.