The California Ties at the Top of the Presidential Ticket

Autor: Soumya Karlamangla

U.S.|The California Ties at the Top of the Presidential Ticket

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California Today

Vice President Kamala Harris’s credentials are already well-known. But Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio has deep connections to the Golden State, too.


Kamala Harris, left, and J.D. Vance, right, both smiling.
After J.D. Vance was named as former President Donald J. Trump’s running mate on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris called to congratulate him, and challenge him to a debate.Credit…David Walter Banks, Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

The 2024 presidential race just got even more Californian.

Vice President Kamala Harris’s credentials are already well-known: She was born in Oakland, graduated from U.C. Law San Francisco, and went on to become state attorney general and a U.S. senator representing California.

But Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, who was formally chosen this week as the Republican vice-presidential nominee and is best known for his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” about growing up poor in Appalachia, has connections to the Golden State, too. And he has already leveraged them to help former President Donald J. Trump.

While studying at Yale Law School, Vance met his wife, Usha Vance, who grew up in a San Diego suburb. The two soon moved to San Francisco, where J.D. worked as a venture capitalist for Peter Thiel, a conservative megadonor and an early Trump supporter. Usha worked at the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson. (She resigned from the job this week “to focus on caring for our family,” SFGate reported.)

The couple moved to Ohio in 2017, but their Bay Area years followed them. When Vance ran for U.S. Senate in 2022, his Democratic opponent, Tim Ryan, then a U.S. representative, thought Vance’s time in San Francisco “was political gold among working-class voters,” The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“Ryan’s supporters mocked Vance as a ‘San Francisco vulture capitalist’ and sent him a ‘soy candle that is sustainable and vegan, in a one-of-a-kind S.F. fragrance,’” the news outlet reported, quoting an Ohio Democrats news release.

But Thiel donated $15 million to Vance’s race in Ohio. And he brokered a meeting between Vance and Trump — whom Vance had previously denounced as “cultural heroin” — so the two could make amends. Trump then backed Vance for Senate, and he won his crowded primary.

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