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J.D. Vance. Photo: J. Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

J.D. Vance, venture capitalist and author of "Hillbilly Elegy," announced Thursday he's entering the crowded Republican race for the Ohio U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Rob Portman.

The big picture: Vance's top issues will be the culture wars (including cancel culture, critical race theory and Big Tech), immigration and economic populism (with an emphasis on inflation), Axios' Mike Allen reported earlier this week.

Go deeper

College students skeptical of GOP crackdown on critical race theory

Expand chart
Data: The Generation Lab; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Nearly half of college Republicans support public schools teaching about institutional racism — and six in 10 don't think state legislatures should be able to stop it —according to a new Generation Lab/Axios poll.

Why it matters: The findings suggest that younger, educated Republicans think much differently about racism and academic freedom than GOP-led state legislatures seeking to censor the teaching of critical race theory.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.