Peter Thiel donates $10m to PAC supporting Hillbilly Elegy’s JD Vance


PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel donates $10 million to a PAC supporting Hillbilly Elegy author JD Vance for possible Senate campaign in Ohio

  • Peter Thiel donated $10 million to Protect Ohio Values, which is a PAC formed last month to back JD Vance’s potential Senate campaign in Ohio
  • Vance, who lives in Cincinnati with his wife and children, has not officially announced a run for the US Senate
  • The PAC is pushing heavily to recruit Vance 
  • Hedge fund manager Robert Mercer’s family has also made a ‘significant’ contribution 
  • Vance, who is a venture capitalist and best-selling author, rose to prominence with his 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy about poverty in the US Midwest 
  • His memoir was turned into a Netflix film starring Glen Close, who received an Oscar nomination for her role on Monday
  • Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early Facebook investor, has previously backed Vance’s Narya Capital venture firm 

Billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has donated $10 million to a super PAC supporting Hillbilly Elegy author and venture capitalist, JD Vance, for a possible Senate campaign in Ohio

Thiel made the hefty donation to Protect Ohio Values, which is a PAC formed last month to back Vance’s potential run for retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman’s seat.

Vance, who lives in Cincinnati with his wife and children, has not officially announced a run for the US Senate. 

The PAC is pushing heavily to recruit Vance.

In addition to Theil’s $10 million donation, PAC adviser Bryan Lanza told the Cincinnati Enquirer that hedge fund manager Robert Mercer’s family had also made a ‘significant’ contribution. 

JD Vance

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel (left) has made a $10 million donation to Protect Ohio Values, which is a PAC formed last month to back JD Vance’s (right) possible Senate campaign in Ohio

It is not clear how much the conservative Mercer family donated.     

‘We’re a network of grassroots conservatives committed to electing a Senator who will stand for and defend Ohio’s values in Washington, DC,’ Lanza said. 

‘We believe JD Vance is the right man for the job and we are signing up supporters and raising funds to demonstrate a groundswell of support in the Buckeye State.’ 

Vance, who is a venture capitalist and best-selling author, rose to prominence with his 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy about poverty in the US Midwest and his roots in Appalachian Kentucky. 

His memoir was turned into a Netflix film produced by Ron Howard late last year starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams. Close received an Oscar nomination on Monday for supporting actress for her role in the film.  

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early Facebook investor, has previously backed Vance’s Narya Capital venture firm, which he runs out of Cincinnati. 

Thiel was also was one of the few prominent Silicon Valley tech moguls to publicly back President Trump. 

Theil’s $10 million donation will be a boost for Vance given the state’s 2022 Senate race is already heating up after current GOP Sen. Rob Portman announced earlier this year that he is retiring. 

Vance (above), who is a venture capitalist and best-selling author, rose to prominence with his 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy about poverty in the US Midwest and his roots in Appalachian Kentucky

Vance (above), who is a venture capitalist and best-selling author, rose to prominence with his 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy about poverty in the US Midwest and his roots in Appalachian Kentucky 

His memoir was turned into a Netflix film produced by Ron Howard late last year. He is portrayed in the film by Gabriel Basso (center). It also stars Haley Bennett (left) and Amy Adams (right)

His memoir was turned into a Netflix film produced by Ron Howard late last year. He is portrayed in the film by Gabriel Basso (center). It also stars Haley Bennett (left) and Amy Adams (right) 

The donation could result in Vance being a front-runner in the potentially crowded GOP primary. 

A number of high-profile Republican names already in the mix, including former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken. 

Vance considered running against Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown back in 2018 but ultimately declined.

At the time, Vance said he was busy with investment work, a nonprofit he started to help address Ohio’s opioid crisis and a young family.

‘Count me out of politics for now,’ Vance said back then.  

Vance’s memoir, released in 2016, became an election-year explainer to liberal America about the white underclass that fueled President Trump’s rise. 

It quickly made the New York Times’ best sellers list later that year. 

Vance, who is a former US Marine who served in Iraq and studied at Yale Law School, quickly became a popular talk show guest for his insights into Trump’s white working-class support. 

His memoir details his roots in Appalachian Kentucky and how they related to growing up in Middletown, Ohio.

His family were originally hillbillies from the poor and remote Appalachian Mountains that run from Pennsylvania to Alabama. 

He details in his memoir growing up with violent, alcoholic grandparents, a heroin addicted mother and an absent father. 

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early Facebook investor, was was one of the few prominent Silicon Valley tech moguls to publicly back President Trump. They are pictured together in 2016

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early Facebook investor, was was one of the few prominent Silicon Valley tech moguls to publicly back President Trump. They are pictured together in 2016

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