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Government & Politics

'Hillbilly Elegy' Author J.D. Vance Running for Portman's U.S. Senate Seat

 J.D. Vance announces his run for Sen. Rob Portman's seat in 2022 at a rally in Middletown, Ohio Tuesday evening. Vance is the author of "Hillbilly Elegy" and will be joining an already crowded field of candidates.
Jason Saul
/
WYSO
J.D. Vance announces his run for Sen. Rob Portman's seat in 2022 at a rally in Middletown, Ohio Tuesday evening. Vance is the author of "Hillbilly Elegy" and will be joining an already crowded field of candidates.

A crowd of about 300 people chanted “J.D.” on the Tube Works factory floor in Middletown, Ohio Tuesday night. J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy," had just announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate representing Ohio.

The 36-year-old venture capitalist returned to his hometown to kickoff his campaign for the seat that Rob Portman will vacate next year.
“My grandparents came here because this was the land of the American dream in Middletown," Vance said. "Ohio has always been good to me.”

Vance gained national attention for his 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.” The book discussed Appalachian life and was seen by critics as a window into the white working class.

At the rally, Vance emphasized the importance of keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S., especially for small towns like Middletown.

“I want to fight for small businesses that are struggling to hire and struggling to build a great company because the government and our multinational corporations make it harder,” Vance said.

He will be joining a crowded field of candidates but has the financial backing of more than $10 million from Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel.

Other Republicans in the race include former state GOP chair Jane Timken of Canton, former state treasurer Josh Mandel of Cleveland, and Cleveland businessmen Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13) is the most prominent Democrat in the race.

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