J.D. Vance, author of "Hillbilly Elegy," decides against Senate run

Vance announced on Friday that he won't run against Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 19, 2018 3:40PM (EST)
J. D. Vance (Getty/Drew Angerer)
J. D. Vance (Getty/Drew Angerer)

J. D. Vance, a venture capitalist and the author of "Hillbilly Elegy," has announced that he isn't going to seek the Republican nomination to run against Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in the upcoming November election.

Although Vance had originally said he wasn't going to run for the Senate, he reconsidered that decision after initial frontrunner Josh Mandel, current Ohio state treasurer, chose to bow out of the race because of an unspecified health issue involving his wife, according to Politico. Experts had been predicting a rematch between Brown and Mandel, who opposed each other in the 2012 Senate election in which Brown emerged as the victor.

"I am truly honored by everyone who encouraged me to run for the senate(sic) this year," Vance explained in a statement posted on Twitter. "I thought seriously about running in August 2017, but decided that the timing was awful for my young family. Some things have changed since then, but not enough to make running a good idea."

After describing the various work in his professional and personal life, Vance concluded: "count me out of politics for now."

With Mandel and Vance both deciding not to run, the default frontrunner is Rep. Jim Renacci, who has already received the support of Ohio's Republican congressional delegation. His main opponent in the primaries will be Mike Gibbons, a Cleveland-area businessman. Their primary battle against each other has already taken a bizarre turn, with Renacci's campaign accusing a former staffer of stealing some of their internal documents to help Gibbons, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The 2018 midterm elections are already shaping up to be particularly critical.

"This is the most important election of our lifetimes, coming up this year," Brian Klaas, author of "The Despot's Apprentice," told Salon last week. "If everybody sort of gets together and rebukes these abuses of power and says, 'Look, we disagree on some things, but this behavior is unacceptable,' and the Democrats sweep, you know, complete control of the House and Senate, and then start write into law the things that used to be democratic norms that Trump's violated, we could actually have a strengthening of American democracy over the long term if the backlash against Trump is sufficiently large."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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