, a venture capitalist and best-selling author of "Hillbilly Elegy
," announced Thursday that he will run for Ohio
's open Senate
seat, joining an already crowded Republican field.
“I think we need fighters in Washington
— and not just fighters, but smart fighters,” Vance said in Middletown, Ohio, adding that “there are a lot of fighters in Washington, D.C.
They just fight for the wrong things.”
Wow. I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude. Thanks to my friends
at Middletown Tube and the entire town for making me feel so welcome. Please assist us if you can. https://t.co/ZNPUHVwDXc
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) July 2, 2021
Former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Republican Party
Chair Jane Timken, and business
executives Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons are among the Republican candidates vying for the seat, which will be vacated when Sen. Rob Portman
(R) retires next year after two terms in office.
Others could enter the race before the state's Republican primary in May 2022. Democratic
Rep. Tim Ryan
is the only candidate for his party's nomination so far. The fall 2022 election
could determine the makeup of the Senate, which is currently evenly divided.
Vance rose to national prominence with "Hillbilly Elegy," but he has been chastised by some Republicans
for his opposition to Donald Trump
's presidential campaign in 2016.
“I can't stomach Trump. I think he's noxious and is leading the white working class to a very dark place,” Vance said at the time in an NPR interview
Later, he embraced Trump's themes, criticizing the "woke" culture war and advocating for more stringent immigration
It's unclear who Trump will support in the race, but his endorsement will almost certainly carry significant political weight given that he easily won the state in 2016 and 2020.
Vance's Republican opponents have already criticized his anti-Trump stances, according to CNN
, which reported that GOP voters
in Ohio received anonymous text messages
this week labeling Vance a "Never Trumper."
The author has a sizable war chest, with billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel pledging $10 million for Vance's campaign, according to The New York Times
. Thiel was an early investor in Vance's venture capital fund.