|Intro||American author and venture capitalist|
|Is||Writer Investor Financial professional Venture capitalist Pundit|
|From||United States of America|
|Field||Business Finance Journalism Literature|
|Birth||2 August 1984, Middletown, Butler County, Ohio, USA|
James David Vance (born James Donald Bowman; August 2, 1984) is an American conservative commentator, politician, venture capitalist, and author. He is best known for his memoir Hillbilly Elegy, which attracted significant press attention during the 2016 election.
Vance is the Republican nominee in the 2022 United States Senate election in Ohio, having announced his candidacy to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Rob Portman on July 1, 2021. On May 3, 2022, he won the Republican primary and will face off against Democratic nominee Tim Ryan in the November general election.
Early life and education
James David Vance was born on August 2, 1984, in Middletown, Ohio, located between Cincinnati and Dayton, as James Donald Bowman, the son of Donald Bowman and Bev Vance. He is of Scots-Irish descent. His mother and father divorced when Vance was a toddler. Shortly afterward, Vance was adopted by his mother's third husband. Vance and his sister were raised primarily by his grandparents, whom Vance affectionately called "Mamaw and Papaw". J. D. went under the name James Hamel, the surname of his stepfather, until settling on the surname Vance by the time he had reached adulthood. Vance was the family name of his grandfather.
Vance was educated at Middletown High School, a public high school in his hometown. After graduating, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Iraq War with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, performing public affairs activities. Vance later graduated summa cum laude from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and philosophy. While at Ohio State, he worked for Republican State Senator Bob Schuler.
After graduating from Ohio State, Vance received a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. During his first year at Yale Law, his mentor and professor Amy Chua convinced him to write his memoir.
After a stint at a corporate law firm, Vance moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. He serves as a principal at Peter Thiel's venture capital firm, Mithril Capital.
He published Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis in 2016. It was on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2016 and 2017. It was a finalist for the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. The New York Times called it "one of the six best books to help understand Trump's win". The Washington Post called him the "voice of the Rust Belt," while The New Republic criticized him as "liberal media's favorite white trash–splainer" and the "false prophet of blue America". Economist William Easterly, a West Virginia native, criticized the book, "Sloppy analysis of collections of people—coastal elites, flyover America, Muslims, immigrants, people without college degrees, you name it—has become routine. And it's killing our politics."
In December 2016, Vance indicated that he planned to move to Ohio to start a nonprofit, and potentially run for office, and work on combating drug addiction in the Rust Belt.
In 2017, he joined Revolution LLC, an investment firm founded by AOL cofounder Steve Case, as an investment partner, where he was tasked with expanding the "Rise of the Rest" initiative, which focuses on growing investments in under-served regions outside Silicon Valley and New York City tech bubbles.
In January 2017, Vance became a CNN contributor. In April 2017, Ron Howard signed on to direct a film version of Hillbilly Elegy, which was released by Netflix in 2020, and starred Owen Asztalos and Gabriel Basso as Vance.
In 2019, he co-founded Narya Capital in Cincinnati, Ohio, with financial backing from Peter Thiel, Eric Schmidt, and Marc Andreessen. In 2020, he raised $93 million for the firm. He has also invested in Rumble, a YouTube competitor.
2022 Ohio U.S. Senate campaign
J. D. Vance is a candidate for the United States Senate from Ohio, winning the Republican nomination on May 3, 2022.
During the 2016 election, Vance was critical of Republican Party nominee Donald Trump. In a column in USA Today in February 2016, Vance wrote "Trump's actual policy proposals, such as they are, range from immoral to absurd." In October 2016, he described Trump as "reprehensible" in a post on Twitter. He also stated his intentions to vote for independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin. Vance later deleted these posts from his Twitter account and, in July 2021, apologized for his criticism of Trump, ahead of his candidacy for United States Senate. He reversed his earlier statements on Trump, saying that he thought Trump was a good president and expressing regret about his statements during the 2016 election. Vance visited Mar-a-Lago to meet with former President Donald Trump, alongside Peter Thiel, ahead of an official announcement.
Vance opposes abortion, and when asked whether abortion laws should include exceptions for rape and incest, he stated "two wrong don’t make a right." Ohio's largest anti-abortion group, Ohio Right to Life, endorsed Vance prior to the 2022 United States Senate primary election in Ohio.
In February 2022, Vance disowned comments he had made about the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. On Steve Bannon's podcast, Vance had said "I gotta be honest with you: I don't really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another" and "spare me the performative affection for the Ukraine." Vance released a statement about the comments and called the invasion "unquestionably a tragedy." The statement repeated the "performative affection" remark and criticized "the obsession with Ukraine from our idiot leaders", which, according to the statement, "serves no function except to distract us from our actual problems."
In 2021, Vance told podcaster Jack Murphy, who heads a men's group called Liminal Order, that he believed conservatives "should seize the institutions of the left. And turn them against the left. We need like a de-Baathification program, a de-woke-ification program.” If Trump were to win re-election in 2024, Vance told Murphy, Trump should "Fire every single midlevel bureaucrat, every civil servant in the administrative state, replace them with our people."
Consideration and announcement
In early 2018, Vance was reported to have been considering a bid for U.S. Senate as a Republican running against Democrat Sherrod Brown, but declined to run. In April 2021, Vance expressed interest in running for the Ohio Senate seat being vacated by Republican Rob Portman.
Peter Thiel has given $10 million to Protect Ohio Values, a super PAC, created in February 2021 to support Vance in running for the 2022 U.S. Senate election in Ohio. Robert Mercer also gave an undisclosed amount. In May 2021, Vance launched an exploratory committee. In July 2021, he officially entered the race.
Vance changed his rhetoric after joining the race. In July 2021, Vance apologized for calling Trump "reprehensible." He had previously tweeted that he was a "never-Trump guy." Whereas Vance had once admonished Trump for demonizing immigrants, Vance himself repeatedly called illegal immigration "dirty". In October 2021, Vance reiterated Trump's claims of election fraud, falsely stating that Trump lost the 2020 presidential election because of widespread voter fraud.
In April 2022 Vance's run was endorsed by Donald Trump.
On May 4, 2022, Vance won the Republican primary for the 2022 U.S. Senate election in Ohio. He defeated multiple candidates including Josh Mandel and Matt Dolan.
Vance is married to one of his former law school classmates and they have three children.
Vance had been raised in a "conservative, evangelical" branch of Protestantism. By September 2016, Vance was "thinking very seriously about converting to Catholicism" and added he was "not an active participant" in any particular religious denomination. In August 2019, Vance converted to Catholicism at a ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio. In an interview with Rod Dreher after his conversion, Vance said he converted because he "became persuaded over time that Catholicism was true", and described Catholic doctrine's influence on his political views.
- Vance, J. D. (June 2016). Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062300546.