J.D. Vance Enters Crowded Primary Field For Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate Seat

J.D. Vance in his hometown of Middletown Thursday night with an Ohio state flag behind him and a sea of "Vance" signs being held up by the crowd in the foreground
J.D. Vance kicked off his 2022 U.S. Senate bid in his hometown of Middletown Thursday night. [Jason Saul / WYSO]
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The already crowded Republican field of candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated next year by Rob Portman has grown yet again. Venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance announced he’s entering the race at an event in Middletown this week. 

“We have to send people to Washington who are willing to shake the system up, to fight, to fight smart and to make our country a little bit better,” Vance said Thursday night, launching his campaign at steel fabricator Middletown Tube Works.

A one-time critic of former President Donald Trump, Vance has taken a softer view of Trump in recent months and was at the “Save America” rally in Lorain last weekend. But he joins an already big field of candidates for the GOP nomination: Vance will face former Ohio GOP leader Jane Timken, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, and Cleveland businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno in next year’s primary.

Portman, also a Republican, announced earlier this year he would not seek a third Senate term.

Vance brings a campaign war chest of more than $10 million with him, including financial backing from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, a close Trump ally. 

Though the Senate race will be his first foray into politics, Vance’s political stances have hardly been a secret over the last several years. His popular 2016 memoir was widely seen has helping explain Trump’s success with working-class white voters to Americans on both coasts. In “Hillbilly Elegy,” which also became a movie starring Amy Adams and Glenn Close, tells of his family’s Appalachian roots and growing up poor in a small, struggling Ohio town. Vance served in the U.S. Marine Corps, including in Iraq, and went on to The Ohio State University and Yale Law School, graduating in 2013 and eventually landing in the technology and venture capital business.

When Vance moved back to his Southwest Ohio hometown from Silicon Valley a few years ago, he said was happy to be back in the Buckeye State. 

“This is home and I’m definitely planning to stay here,” Vance said at the time.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.


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