CINCINNATI, Ohio The U.S. Senate campaign of J.D. Vance has received a boost with the endorsement of the Trump administration’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the second endorsement from a Trump cabinet member in as many days.

In an news release sent exclusively to The Ohio Star, Fairfield, Ohio native and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has announced his endorsement of venture capitalist and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance for the U.S. Senate seat incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) will vacate in early 2023.

In the endorsement, Wheeler called Vance “a strong conservative voice to represent Ohioans well in Washington, D.C.”

Vance “will work for the Americans who have been left behind by the establishing ruling class, fight for the working class and bring back jobs that were shipped overseas,” Wheeler writes in the news release. Vance “will oppose arbitrary regulatory burdens that have been shown to be ineffective and costly for our country.”

Wheeler served as deputy administrator of the EPA from April to July 2018, when he became acting administrator after the resignation of Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Senate confirmed Wheeler as administrator in early 2019 and held the post until the end of  Trump’s term in January.

Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist prior to joining the administration, criticized the role greenhouse emissions from the burning of fossil fuels in internal combustion engines and other industrial activity may have in long-term climate change.

The endorsement comes the day after Vance received the support of Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien, the fourth and final National Security Advisor under Trump from 2019 to 2021.

The endorsements from two members of Trump’s cabinet could help Vance brush off his early criticism of then-candidate Donald Trump as Vance competes in a crowded field of U.S. Senate candidates all seeking the votes of faithful Trump supporters for the Republican Senate nomination in the May 2022 primary. His Republican opponents regularly criticize Vance for that early “NeverTrumper” stance and subsequent efforts to walk back that position.

Also, Indiana Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN-3) endorsed Vance this month.

For his part, Vance said he felt honored by Wheelers’ support.

“Andrew proudly served President Trump and worked to push back against liberal environmental regulations that hurt businesses,” Vance writes in the release. His tenure shows that you can protect our air and water while guaranteeing low-cost energy for American families and manufacturers.”

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Brian Ball is a reporter for The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Send tips to bball@theohiostar.com.
Photo “JD Vance” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.