Best selling author J.D. Vance enters crowded GOP primary of open Ohio Senate seat

The seat is open because GOP Sen. Rob Portman is not seeking 2022 reelection.
Author J.D. Vance at San Francisco tech conference. Sept. 6, 2018
(Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Best-selling author J.D. Vance has officially entered the GOP primary for the Senate seat left open by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

Vance, whose 2016 memoir "Hillbilly Elegy" became a must-read for those trying to understand then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's connection to middle-American voters, officially announced his bid at a rally Thursday night in hometown Middletown, near Cincinnati.

The 36-year-old Vance, who attended college with help from a G.I. bill and later graduated from Yale Law School, joins an already-crowded GOP primary field that includes former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP party Chairwoman Jane Timken and businessmen Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons. 

His announcement speech was a largely populist message that targeted large corporations and big tech and promises to secure U.S. borders and fight for the "middle-class worker," according to CNN

"I want to be not just a fighter, but a fighter who's fighting for you," he said.