In his flagship campaign ad, Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance makes a point to condemn the “elites and the ruling class” for “robbing [Americans] blind,” insisting that “the old way of doing things [in politics] ain’t working.” Which is surely how he found himself, over the weekend, smack-dab in the middle of a scene that can only be described as “the old way of doing things.”
According to Politico, the Hillbilly Elegy author attended a high-powered fundraiser in the Hamptons on Saturday night; guests reportedly included heiress Rebekah Mercer, media magnate Steven Price, Council on Foreign Relations member Heather Higgins, and Loews Corporation CEO Jim Tisch. Prior to the soiree, Vance reportedly paid a visit to former George W. Bush Treasury official Emil Henry at his home in East Hampton.
It is perhaps logical that Vance would find refuge in the Hamptons, of all New York enclaves. Just over a week ago, he teased his trip to the East Coast with a query that framed the city proper as a dirty war zone. “Serious question: I have to go to New York soon and I’m trying to figure out where to stay. I have heard it’s disgusting and violent there,” he wrote in a much-derided tweet. “But is it like Walking Dead Season 1 or Season 4?”
Vance has done his best to ditch his cosmopolitan image since launching his campaign. But his own roots belie his man of the people schtick. After finishing his law degree at Yale, Vance wound up at a Mithril Capital, a V.C. firm run by PayPal cofounder and original Facebook investor Peter Thiel. In 2019, when Vance decided to kickstart his own V.C. firm, Thiel threw in cash to get it running. And Vance’s time with the billionaire techno-vampire is still paying off: In March, Thiel contributed $10 million to Protect Ohio Values, a super PAC supporting Vance’s Senate candidacy.
Over the course of his campaign, Vance has done his best to distance himself from his Silicon Valley roots, lashing out at Big Tech like others of his chosen party. “When the technology industry censors the sitting president of the United States, when it puts you in Facebook jail for uttering an opinion, we’re not gonna sit by and take it anymore. We’re gonna go after them,” he says in his campaign ad. “And if they censor conservatives, we’re gonna make them pay.” Vance also recently lashed out at Twitter’s decision to ban white nationalist Nick Fuentes from the platform, tweeting that “Fuentes has been a giant troll (and IMO dishonest) in his attacks against me. Don’t care. Tech companies control what we’re allowed to say in our own country. It has to stop.”
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