J. D. Vance, an Ohio-based venture capitalist and the author of the bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, has formed an exploratory committee for retiring Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman’s seat in 2022, according to a new report.
“Short of an act of God, J. D. is going to be a candidate for the Ohio Senate seat in the near future,” a source close to Vance reportedly told Business Insider. “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.”
The Ohio Values Project, the exploratory committee, is now accepting online donations. It will co-exist with the Vance-aligned super PAC Protect Ohio Values, according to the report. The super PAC was funded by a $10 million donation from Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, whom Vance once worked with at Mithril Capital.
Vance, a 36-year-old Marine Corps veteran, joins a pool of at least ten potential GOP candidates, including former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, who have formally declared their candidacies, and businessman Bernie Moreno and Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose, who are reportedly eyeing runs.
Meanwhile, Democratic representative Tim Ryan also has announced his candidacy.
An official announcement of Vance’s candidacy could come as soon as this summer, the source reportedly told Insider.
Vance’s goal is reportedly to portray himself as a “bridge between Trump and establishment Republicans,” Axios reported last month. However, the report added that Vance recently met privately with Trump and Thiel at Mar-a-Lago.