The already crowded Republican field for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated next year by Rob Portman has grown by one today. Venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance announced he'll enter the race in Middletown earlier today.
Update from WYSO's Mawa Iqbal:
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 the US Senate seat.
The 36-year-old venture capitalist returned to his hometown to kickoff his campaign for the seat to be vacated next year by Rob Portman.
“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.
When Vance moved back from the Silicon Valley a few years ago, he said was happy to be in Ohio.
“This is home and I’m definitely plan to stay here," Vance said.
The one-time critic of former President Trump has taken a softer view of him in recent months and was at Trump’s rally in Lorain last weekend. But he joins a big field of candidates for the GOP nomination.
Vance brings a campaign war chest of more than $10 million with him, including financial backing from Paypal Co-founder Peter Thiel, a close Trump ally.