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Peter Thiel is making the biggest political bet of his life

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J.D. Vance stands to benefit from his ties to Peter Thiel, for whom he used to work. Silicon Valley iconoclast Peter Thiel is placing the biggest political bet of his career, pumping $10 million into a super PAC that is supporting a former Thiel aide who may run for the US Senate in Ohio.

Thiel has cut a check of just over $10 million to an outside group backing J.D. Vance, the author of the bestselling book Hillbilly Elegy , a much bigger contribution than he made to support Donald Trump and Thiel’s largest disclosed political donation ever. Vance is one of several people in Thiel’s network who have weighed Senate bids in recent years and stand to benefit substantially from their ties to the billionaire investor.

The donations are the latest display of how Thiel is cultivating a network of young, populist, Ivy League-educated proteges and encouraging them to run for Senate all around the country.

Vance’s book turned him into a literary and cultural sensation after the 2016 election, especially for Democrats who were seeking clues about the working-class white voters that powered Trump to victory. The book, a memoir about Vance’s upbringing in Ohio and Kentucky, was recently made […]

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