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‘Elegy’ author declines Senate run

Vance wants to focus on family, nonpolitical projects

A bestselling conservative author has turned down efforts to lure him into the race for U.S. Senate in Ohio this year.

Venture capitalist J.D. Vance, whose memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” is set to be adapted into a film by Ron Howard, said on Friday that he will not enter the campaign for the seat currently held by Democrat Sherrod Brown.

“I am truly honored by everyone who encouraged me to run for the Senate this year,” Vance posted on Twitter Friday. “I thought seriously about running in August 2017, but decided the timing was awful for my young family.”

Vance had earlier said he would not run for the office, but, following the witdrawal of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel from the race this month, Republican leaders had sought to get him to reconsider. Vance was reported to have met with U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and others in Washington, D.C. this month.

“Some things have changed since then, but not enough to make running a good idea,” Vance said. “Our Rise of the Rest fund has raised $150 million to invest in early stage businesses (both inside and outside of my home state), my nonprofit organization is on the verge of bringing an addiction specialist into Ohio to help fill some significant treatment gaps, and I’ve still got a family that needs more of my time than a political campaign would permit. I’d rather focus on these things, so count me out of politics for now.”

Vance, who spoke at Lawrence County’s Republican dinner last year, had recently moved back to Ohio, prompting speculation he intended to run for an office.

With Vance not running, the Republican field now includes investment banker and political donor Mike Gibbons, who spoke in Ironton on Sunday, as well as U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, who, following Mandel’s announcement, switched from running for governor to campaigning for Senate.

Brown, who was first elected in 2006 after unseating Republican Mike DeWine, defeated Mandel in 2012 and is now seeking a third term in the seat.