Billionaire Peter Thiel donates $10 million to ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author J.D. Vance’s potential Senate run

J.D. Vance

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Billionaire Peter Thiel is backing J.D. Vance’s possible run for the US Senate. 

Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal, donated $10 million to the Protect Ohio Values PAC, the group told the Cincinnati Enquirer. Protect Ohio Values was formed last month to recruit Vance to run for retiring US Sen. Rob Portman’s Ohio seat.

“Protect Ohio Values PAC is amplifying the many voice who want JD Vance to be Ohio’s next US Senator,” Protect Ohio Values PAC spokesperson Bryan Lanza said in a statement to Insider.

J.D. Vance wrote the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” which recounted his childhood growing up in a white working class Rust Belt town. The Netflix film adaption of “Hillbilly Elegy” recently picked up an Oscar nomination.

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Thiel also gave Vance financial backing last year, when Vance launched the venture capital fund Narya Capital. Narya invests in tech and science pursuits in cities outside of coastal tech hubs.

Vance had worked for Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management investment firm after graduating from Yale Law School in 2013.

Thiel had been a vocal supporter for Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign and presidency, but backed away from his 2020 reelection campaign. The tech investor had previously put $850,000 into a PAC that backed former secretary of state of Kansas Kris Kobach’s failed 2020 senate bid. 

Thiel did not immediately return a request for comment. 

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