‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author J.D. Vance has thrown his hat into the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, Vance announced Thursday.
Vance joins an already-crowded field of would-be senators looking to fill the seat of Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who plans to retire when his term ends in 2022. Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and state Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken have already declared their candidacies for Portman’s seat, as has Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno. Rumors of a potential run from Vance first emerged in April. (RELATED: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Author J.D. Vance: ‘The Republican Party Doesn’t Actually Represent It’s Own Voters Very Well’)
Vance has styled himself as a Trump-esque populist fighting against “elites” in Washington.
“If you look at every issue in this country,” Vance said Thursday. “Every issue I believe traces back to this fact: On the one hand, the elites in the ruling class in this country are robbing us blind, and on the other, if you dare complain about it, you are a bad person.”
The winner of the Republican primary is most likely to face Democratic Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan as the Democratic challenger. Republicans have already begun a campaign to paint Ryan as a far-left Democrat who doesn’t respect Ohio voters.
“As Tim Ryan seeks a promotion, he is trending more and more leftward to appease his liberal bosses — Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, AOC and Bernie Sanders,” Lizzie Litzow of the National Republican Senatorial Committee told CNN on Thursday. “He is in lockstep with these radicals on issues like open borders that have led to the outrageous crisis at our Southern Border and abolishing the filibuster — a blatant power grab.”
Ohio voters have been trending more and more deeply red in recent years, a pattern that only accelerated following former President Donald Trump’s election in 2016. Democrats, however, say they have an opportunity with the crowded Republican field.