'Hillbilly Elegy' author J.D. Vance forms exploratory committee to run for Senate seat in Ohio: report

Vance has already attracted the attention of some influential donors

J.D. Vance, venture capitalist and author of the bestselling book "Hillbilly Elegy", has reportedly formed an exploratory committee as he mulls running for Ohio’s open Senate seat as a Republican candidate.

The Ohio Values Project – the exploratory committee – is accepting online donations for Vance’s campaign, Business Insider reported on Tuesday, with the expectation that an official announcement could come as early as the summer.

"Short of an act of God, J.D. is going to be a candidate for the Ohio Senate seat in the near future," a close associate of Vance told the publication. "He has a message that is resonating with voters. And based on the reaction from the people that are already in the race, it's clear that he will be a formidable force."

Vance, 36, would succeed Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who is retiring.

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Vance has never before run for political office.

However, he has already attracted the attention of some influential members of the business community.

Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel poured $10 million in March into a super PAC supporting Vance’s candidacy, alongside a contribution from the megadonor Mercer family.

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Former state treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken have already announced they would be running. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, launched a campaign at the end of last month.

Vance intends to position himself as a liaison between supporters of President Donald Trump and establishment Republicans, sources previously told Axios.

President Trump won Ohio by comfortably margins in 2016 and 2020.