Leading Republican activists and donors in Ohio are privately encouraging "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance to mount a bid for the Senate.
BuzzFeed News reported Thursday that some Republicans in the state see Vance as someone who could run an energetic and positive campaign capable of unseating Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownWhen the Fed plays follow the leader, it steers us all toward inflation Which proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? Senate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents MORE (D-Ohio).
“He resonates with everyday mom-and-pop voters," a GOP activist told BuzzFeed. "He taps into an undercurrent of Americana. He could beat Sherrod Brown in a heartbeat.”
What's more, they see Vance as a possible replacement for Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who challenged Brown previously in 2012. Mandel is currently considered the front-runner for Republican Senate nomination in the state.
"The donors are kind of wishy-washy on Josh,” the Republican activist said.
Vance, a 32-year-old venture capitalist and Marine veteran, rose to fame last year with his book "Hillbilly Elegy," which recounts his life and family in Ohio. The book, however, is widely seen as illustrative of the white working-class and rural voters who voted for President Trump in 2016.
Vance, a graduate of Yale Law School, moved back to Ohio following the success of his book to start Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit geared toward addressing social and economic issues discussed in "Hillbilly Elegy."
Vance told The Washington Post in December that he was not yet eyeing a run for office but would not rule it out in the future.
“I think that I need to live in the state for a while and get to know these problems a little better before actually doing something like that. Never say never, but it’s certainly not something I am thinking about over the short-term.”