J. D. Vance may be running for the United States Senate in Ohio. The venture capitalist and author of the autobiographical bestseller Hillbilly Elegy, now has a very well-funded Super PAC backing his potential candidacy.
According to Cinncinnati.com, “Thiel, a German-American billionaire and early investor in Facebook, gave $10 million to Protect Ohio Values, a super PAC formed last month to support Vance’s possible bid, said Bryan Lanza, a communications adviser to the super PAC.
The Mercer family also made a “significant contribution,” Lanza said. Hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his family were key supporters of former President Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Mercer was an important investor in Breitbart News and a force in the campaign for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
Protect Ohio Values’ website indicates that the organization was created to back Vance: “We’re a network of grassroots conservatives committed to electing a senator who will stand for and defend Ohio’s values in Washington, DC. We believe J. D. Vance is the right man for the job and we are signing up supporters and raising funds to demonstrate a groundswell of support in the Buckeye State.”
The senate seat will be open as current Republican Senator Rob Portman announced last month that he will not seek re-election. Former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel and former state GOP chairman Jane Timken have both announced they would run for the seat.
But both of those candidates have large potential problems with Ohio’s Republican base; problems from which Vance is likely to benefit. Trump won Ohio handily in both 2016 and 2020. The 2020 margin was eight percentage points.
Josh Mandel ran for senate in 2018 but then dropped out under unusual circumstances after having raised millions of dollars from donors leaving many with a bad taste in their mouth. At the time he dropped out he cited a family health issue. He and his divorced shortly thereafter. His support for activist foreign policy in the neocon vein doesn’t help with Ohio Republicans either.
Meanwhile, Jane Timken, a Harvard-educated political insider is little known to the base and has deep ties to loudly anti-Trump former Governor John Kasich who she backed in the 2016 primary. Since announcing her run last month she’s quickly changed her rhetoric to position herself as pro-Trump.
Meanwhile, Vance was an advocate for Trump’s re-election and has a long track record of supporting America First policies on everything from immigration restriction to Big Tech to holding big “woke” corporations accountable. This is one of the most important Republican primaries of the 2022 election cycle and the attention and money already being focused on it demonstrate the stakes. That key Trump-backing donors are supporting Vance in a big way this early foreshadows what is to come and is a key indicator that electing senators that will build on what Trump started is high on their agenda.
American Greatness editor and publisher Chris Buskirk interviewed Vance earlier this year when Netflix released the movie adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy.