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J.D. Vance Enters Ohio Senate Race For Portman's Seat

jd vance
Jeff Dean
Vance, a venture capitalist, at a rally Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Middletown, Ohio, where he announced he is joining the crowded Republican race for the Ohio U.S. Senate seat being left by Rob Portman.

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, announced his Senate candidacy Thursday. A crowd of about 300 people chanted "J.D." on the Tube Works factory floor in Middletown, Ohio. The 36-year-old venture capitalist returned to his hometown to kick off his campaign for Republican Rob Portman's seat.

"My grandparents came here because this was the land of the American dream in Middletown," he said. "Ohio, to me, has always been good to me."

Vance gained national attention for his 2016 memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, which was also turned into a movie directed by Ron Howard. The book discussed Appalachian life and was seen by critics as a window into the white working class.

He will be joining a crowded field of GOP candidates that includes former state treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken. So far, the only entrant on the Democratic side is Congressman Tim Ryan.

In January, Portman - who has held the seat since 2010 - announced he will not seek re-election in 2022, blaming the worsening "partisan gridlock" in Congress.