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Venture capitalist and Yale Law School graduate J.D. Vance announced on Thursday that he is running for Senate in Ohio as a Republican, using his kickoff campaign to criticize "the elites and the ruling class" who are "robbing us blind."
Vance, 36, has the support of billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who invested in the fund Vance runs and donated $10 million to Protect Ohio Values, a pro-Vance super PAC that is now running digital ads to boost his name recognition. This is Thiel's "largest disclosed political donation ever," Politico reports, and helps Vance in what is becoming a crowded primary field.
Vance, a Marine veteran and the author of the memoir Hillbilly Elegy, is one of several Republicans who want to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) — others in the race include former state treasurer Josh Mandel; former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken; and businessmen Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons. A GOP strategist who asked not to be named told Politico it's "anybody's game," and now that Vance has "entered the race it is more unclear than ever who has the advantage."
Vance announced his candidacy in his hometown of Middletown, and hit the current conservative talking points — he decried critical race theory and criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Politico reports. He also declared that if Americans "look at every issue in this country, 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."