Journal-News reporter Michael Clark spoke with best-selling author JD Vance prior to his commencement speech to the Middletown High School graduating class of 2017.

Report: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author Vance courted for U.S. Senate bid; Sheriff Jones to decide tomorrow

Middletown native and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance told The Atlantic in September he was not going to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate race in Ohio against Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, in November 2018.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has spoken with Vance, who voted for Evan McMullin over Donald Trump in November 2016, about a potential bid, Politico reported on Monday citing three sources.

RELATED: Ohio AG Mike DeWine endorsed by Sheriff Richard Jones, and they talked about the U.S. Senate race

This comes days after Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced he is leaving the race due to his wife’s health issues. It also comes during reports that Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones has been courted by some Republicans to take Mandel’s place.

Jones told this news organization he’s “not ruling anything out” but has said he’ll decide on Wednesday if he will run.

As of now, Cleveland investment banker Mike Gibbons is the front-runner for the GOP primary this May. The filing deadline for the race is Feb. 7.

RELATED: Republican Ohio treasurer drops out of U.S. Senate race

According to Politico, if Vance enters the race, McConnell has said he would prioritize this U.S. Senate race.

Politico is also reporting that Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, who is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is trying to court U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, to run for U.S. Senate.

Brown is one of 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election this November. Republicans hold a narrow lead in the U.S. Senate. There are 51 Republican senators to 49 Democratic senators.

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