Republican leaders have called on well-known conservative author J.D. Vance of “Hillbilly Elegy” fame, to run for Senate in Ohio after GOP frontrunner Josh Mandel abruptly pulled out of the race due to his wife’s poor health.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken with Vance about running and has told his associates that he would devote more resources should Vance enter, three sources familiar with the discussions told Politico.
Following Mandel’s departure in the first week of January, self-funded businessman Mike Gibbons is the lone Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, though GOP leaders have not yet settled on Vance as their top choice.
Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School, drew on his Appalachian upbringing in Ohio to analyze the cultural and economic decline of middle America in his first break out book, which provide him solid name recognition in his home state, should he choose to run.
After graduating from law school Vance worked at Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm in San Francisco before returning to Ohio to start a non-profit dedicated to reviving small town economies in rural parts of the mid-west.
Though Vance made an effort to endear readers to Trump voters in his book, he has been critical of the president as a regular CNN contributor, accusing him of using rhetoric “that’s not in the best interest of the party or the country.”
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