CONGRESS

PayPal Co-founder Gives $10 Million to Super PAC Backing Potential Senate Bid by JD Vance

March 15, 2021 13:44, Last Updated: March 15, 2021 17:24
By Ivan Pentchoukov

The billionaire co-founder of PayPal donated $10 million to a newly formed political action committee backing a potential U.S. Senate bid by J.D. Vance in 2022.

Peter Thiel, a billionaire who was also one of the earliest investors in Facebook, donated $10 million to the Protect Ohio Values PAC, according to Bryan Lanza, the communications director for the PAC.

Protect Ohio Values was created to support Vance’s bid for the U.S. Senate, the group’s website states. The formal paperwork was filed late last month.

“We’re a network of grassroots conservatives committed to electing a Senator who will stand for and defend Ohio’s values in Washington, DC. We believe J. D. 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,” the website states.

Rise of the Rest Seed Fund managing partner J.D. Vance speaks onstage during Day 2 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, on Sept. 6, 2018. (Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Thiel has donated to dozens of American figures on the political right, including former President Donald Trump. Thiel was one of the California delegates for Trump’s nomination. He announced a $1.25 million donation to Trump in October 2016 and was subsequently named to the executive committee on Trump’s transition team.

Like Trump, Vance is an outsider to politics. Vance amassed a fortune as a venture capitalist and author. His book was the subject of a Netflix film released last year.

Vance hasn’t publicly said whether he will run, but a source familiar with the matter told The Epoch Times that “all signs point to JD pulling the trigger on a run.” Vance would run as a Republican, the source confirmed.

Vance had spoken about running for office as early as 2016. He reportedly contemplated a run as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in 2018.

He previously worked as a principal at Thiel’s venture capital firm, Mithril Capital Management. He is perhaps best known as the author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” a book about the values of his Kentuckian family and the social problems in his hometown of Middletown, Ohio.

The New York Times included “Hillbilly Elegy” in a list of six books necessary to “understand Trump’s win” in 2016.

If he chooses to run, Vance would be a contender for the seat that will be vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Portman said in late January that he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2022, citing the worsening political polarization in Washington.

Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan has reported for The Epoch Times on a variety of topics since 2011.

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