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.
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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.