Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel is looking to challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown for his Senate seat in November 2018. Only some conservatives in Ohio, including allies of Gov. John Kasich, are failing to work up much enthusiasm for the Trump loyalist, BuzzFeed News reports. They have another conservative in mind: J.D. Vance, the bestselling author of Hillbilly Elegy.
Vance's book has been credited as "key to understanding distressed pockets of Appalachia and the white working-class voters who carried Trump to the White House," BuzzFeed News writes. And Vance, 32, has long been suspected of trying to nudge his way into politics; his current project is a nonprofit, Our Ohio Renewal, that addresses local problems such as the opioid crisis.
What's more, "the donors are kind of wishy-washy on Josh [Mandel]," one Republican activist told BuzzFeed News. But Vance "resonates with everyday mom-and-pop voters. He taps into an undercurrent of Americana. He could beat Sherrod Brown in a heartbeat."
Former Kasich adviser Jai Chabria, who is working with Vance, agreed that "since J.D. has moved back to Ohio and begun traveling the state, he has clearly generated a tremendous amount of interest."
But Chabria refused to sate anyone's curiosity about if Vance will run for the Senate. "There is plenty of time to have that conversation at the right time," he said.