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'Hillbilly Elegy' Author J.D. Vance Considering Ohio U.S. Senate Run

a photo of J.D. Vance
Yale Law School
Yale Law School
J.D. Vance

“Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance helped explain to the nation Donald Trump’s popularity among the Appalachian working class. Now he’s trying to decide whether he can win over those voters and other Republicans in his native Ohio.

At 36, Vance is “thinking seriously” about running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Rob Portman in 2022.

Vance hasn't run for office before and lacks the statewide political network of the former state party chair Jane Timken and former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel who are already in the race. The field also includes Cleveland-area businessmen Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons.

But Vance has demonstrated the ability to raise big money.

Vance also considered a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018 as a challenger to Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Last week, Vance resigned from the board of a company that uses green technology to mass-produce food in Appalachia.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Vance was an early investor in AppHarvest. The mega-greenhouse company employs 300 people in Morehead, Kentucky, at a facility that produced its first tomatoes this year.

The move came days after Vance posted some controversial tweets that states should raise taxes on corporations protesting GOP efforts to change voting laws, and "do whatever else is necessary to fight these goons.”

There have been reports that Vance's resignation from the AppHarvest board was linked to those tweets, which he denied on Twitter, criticizing the media.

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Dan Sewell