J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy” is expected to enter the Ohio Republican primary for the state’s open Senate seat, according to multiple reports.
Vance, whose book was seen in 2016 as helping explain Donald Trump’s appeal to struggling white, working-class voters, plans a “special announcement” and rally at the steel fabricator Middletown Tube Works in his Ohio hometown on Thursday. ABC News reported.
Vance, a venture capitalist who became a popular TV political commentator, was dubbed “the Trump whisperer” for his ability to explain the Republican's rise to the presidency. His book became a Ron Howard-directed movie
Vance will join a crowded field in the primary that already includes Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer; Jane Timken, the former chair of the Ohio Republican party; and businessmen Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons.
And the news network noted the primary race to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, could turn on who appears to be the most authentically pro-Trump candidate.
"There has never been a Republican primary for statewide office in Ohio this wide open and this chaotic," said one Republican strategist familiar with Ohio. "Each one of these candidates has their own claim to the Republican base."
Trump won the state twice and collected more than 3 million votes in 2020.
But the former president is not expected to endorse a candidate until closer to the May primary in 2022, according to CNN.
However, Vance is not expected to have trouble raising money. Billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, an early mentor and employer of Vance, gave $10 million to a super PAC formed to encourage his Senate candidacy, the AP said.
Still, Vance's political fate could end up being based on how he talks about his transformation on Trump, who he publicly opposed in 2016 before reversing his position in 2020, according to CNN.
The Club for Growth's political action committee endorsed Mandel in March. And it blasted Vance in a statement on Wednesday, CNN said.
"He claims to be a Trump Republican, but in the short time Mr. Vance has been active in politics he's spent the bulk of it tearing down President Trump and mocking Trump voters," said the Club's president, David McIntosh.
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