Billionaire Peter Thiel is reportedly getting behind a potential Senate run by Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance.
Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, has donated $10 million to Protect Ohio Values, a super PAC that was formed to support a possible Ohio Senate run by Vance, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
The donation was confirmed to the Enquirer by a communications adviser for the PAC; the adviser said the family of billionaire Robert Mercer, who previously supported former President Donald Trump, made a "significant contribution," as well. Protect Ohio Values describes itself as a "network of grassroots conservatives committed to electing a senator who will stand for and defend Ohio's values" and who believe Vance is "the right man for the job."
Vance, a venture capitalist, wrote the 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, which was turned into a Netflix film that picked up two Oscar nominations on Monday. The Cincinnati Enquirer notes that Thiel "was a key backer" of Vance's Narya Capital. Vance previously decided not to run for Senate in 2018, saying it was "just not a good time," but he hasn't said whether he will run in 2022 for Sen. Rob Portman's (R-Ohio) vacated seat.
To put Thiel's $10 million donation in perspective, Recode reported that this is his "largest disclosed political donation ever," and a "much bigger" contribution than the PayPal co-founder made to Trump. Indeed, Bloomberg wrote that if Vance decided to run for Senate this time, he "would be jumping in with a sizable war chest and powerful friends."