FIRST ON FOX: J.D. Vance, the venture capitalist and the author of the bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” brought in more than $1.75 million in fundraising in the first three months of his Senate campaign in Ohio, in the crowded Republican primary battle in the 2022 race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.Vance’s campaign, sharing their fundraising figures first with Fox News on Thursday, noted that they had $1.2 million cash on hand as of Oct. 1. And they spotlighted that they received contributions from 7,577 unique donors and from 86 out of Ohio’s 88 counties. The also noted Vance’s grassroots appeal, pointing out the more than half of donors contributed $50 or less.”I’m overwhelmed with the great amount of support from all over Ohio that we’ve received since I announced my candidacy,” Vance said in a statement. “It is truly humbling to know that more than 7,500 people decided that our shared vision was worth opening up their checkbooks for.”ONE OF THE BIGGEST, MOST COMPETITIVE SENATE PRIMARIES IN THE COUNTRY GETS EVEN BIGGERAnd showcasing his populist approach, he added that “I look forward to a strong continued campaign that doubles down on reversing the steady decline of our country exacerbated by the woke elites who are currently in charge.” Vance announced his candidacy on July 1, which was the first day of the July-September third quarter of fundraising. His team said that a portion of his fundraising was brought in during an exploratory phase that preceded the launch of his campaign, including a personal loan of $100,000. Vance, who lives in Cincinnati, worked as a principal in a venture capital firm owned by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel after attending law school. He grabbed national attention after “Hillbilly Elegy” – which tells his story of growing up in a struggling steel mill city and his roots in Appalachian Kentucky – became a New York Times bestseller and was made into a Netflix film. This is Vance’s first political campaign, although he considered a 2018 GOP challenge to Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown before deciding against running.WITH A YEAR TO GO UNTIL THE MIDTERMS, THESE FOUR SENATORS STILL MUM IF THEY’RE RUNNING FOR REELECTIONThe Senate bid by Vance is also being backed by a super PAC that earlier this year received a massive $10 million contribution from Thiel, as well as what was described as a “significant” donation from the conservative megadonor Mercer family.Vance will be a live guest on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Thursday morning.Vance is one of 11 candidates vying for next year’s GOP Senate nomination in Ohio. The field also includes former Ohio treasurer and former two-time Senate candidate Josh Mandel; former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken; Cleveland businessman and luxury auto dealership giant Bernie Moreno; 2018 Ohio Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, a Cleveland entrepreneur, real estate developer and investment banker; and Ohio state Sen. Matt Dolan, whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians.Longtime Rep. Mike Turner, who represents the state’s 10th Congressional District, has taken steps toward launching a GOP campaign.Timken appears to be the only other major contender to so far release her fundraising figures – candidates running for federal offices have until Oct. 15 to file their reports with the Federal Election Commission. Timken last week announced a third quarter fundraising haul of over $1.7 million, with more than $3.1 million cash on hand at the start of this month.Mandel brought in nearly $1 million in the April-June second quarter of fundraising, with roughly $5 million in his campaign coffers as of July 1. Moreno hauled in $2.24 million in the second quarter, with $1.64 million cash on hand at the beginning of July.Gibbons, who’s mostly self-funding his campaign, said last week that he infused $2.25 million into his bid during the third quarter. Gibbons gave $5.67 million to his campaign in the second quarter.The winner of next year’s Republican primary may face off against longtime Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of northeastern Ohio. Ryan, who declared his candidacy for the Senate in April, is considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination in a primary field expected to be much smaller than the large GOP roster of contenders. Progressive Morgan Harper, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau senior adviser and 2020 congressional candidate, announced her candidacy earlier this summer.Ryan announced last week that he hauled in $2.5 million the past three months, with $3.6 million in his campaign coffers.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties, but the Democrats hold a razor-thin majority due to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves as president of the Senate. That means the GOP only needs a one-seat pickup to regain the majority.But Republicans are defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs in 2022. Besides Ohio, the GOP is also defending open seats in the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Pennsylvania as well as in Missouri and Alabama.