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‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author announces bid for U.S. Senate in hometown of Middletown

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Posted at 7:22 PM, Jul 01, 2021

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Middletown native J.D. Vance officially entered a growing race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate on Thursday evening during an announcement at Middletown Tube Works.

Vance made his announcement in front of an overflow crowd inside the manufacturing facility in his hometown of Middletown.

The “Hillbilly Elegy” author had already told associates, according to an Axios story in April, he planned to run for the seat being vacated in 2022 by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati. Portman announced in January he will not seek a third Senate term.

The current Senate race field is led by former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel, who according to polling leads the crowded Republican race. In a poll commissioned by his campaign, Mandel leads the crowd of candidates.

Former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken is second in polling. In a poll commissioned by her campaign, Timken is closing in on that lead.

Other declared Republicans include investment banker and 2018 Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael Leipold, car dealership owner Bernie Moreno and IT executive Mark Pukita.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Nilles, is the only declared Democrat in the 2022 U.S. Senate race, though others are considering a bid.

Vance vaulted to national attention in 2016 with the publication of "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis," a New York Times best seller that offered insight into the struggles of America’s white working class. The book came out just as Donald Trump seized the GOP presidential nomination with a platform that appealed to white working class voters who felt left behind.

Early in 2020, Vance founded the Narya Capital fund in Cincinnati. Previously, Vance was managing partner of the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, a $150 million early-stage fund.