Ohio Senate debate with Ryan, Vance sinks into attacks
The showdown between Ryan, a 10-term congressman, and Vance, a venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” for the seat vacated by retired GOP Senator Rob Portman has been one of the hottest debates. most controversial of the general election. season so far. The race is one of the most expensive and closely watched midterms, with Democrats seeing it as a possible resumption opportunity in November.
Both candidates sought to tailor their messages to working-class voters who could determine the election in an evening littered with beards and lines.
Ryan has sought to portray Vance as an extremist, someone who associates himself with his party’s “crazy people” who falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen, support nationwide abortion restrictions and have contributed to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
“You run with Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, who wants to ban the books. You run with (Senator) Lindsey Graham, who wants a national abortion ban. You’re running with (Rep.) Marjorie Taylor Greene, who’s the goofiest politician in America,” Ryan said.
Vance suggested that Ryan’s focus on the extremism allegations was intended to distract from pocketbook issues important to voters, such as inflation and the price of groceries.
“It’s close to Halloween and Tim Ryan has put on a costume where he’s pretending to be a reasonable moderate.” If it had been, Vance says, “Youngstown might not have lost 50,000 manufacturing jobs in your 20 years.”
Ryan said, “I’m not going to apologize for spending 20 years of my adult life working hard trying to help one of the hardest hit economically in Ohio and dedicating my life to help this region come back. You should be ashamed of yourself, JD. You went to California, you drank wine and you ate cheese.
Vance countered that he left Ohio at 18 to join the Marines, and after working in Silicon Valley he returned to Ohio to raise his family and start a business.
During questioning about China, Ryan said Vance had invested in China as a venture capitalist, the type of business move that has exacerbated job losses in Ohio’s manufacturing base. “The problem we have now with inflation is that our supply chains have all gone to China, and guys like him have made a lot of money off of that,” Ryan said.
Vance said it was Democratic economic policies that hurt manufacturing, saying, “They’ve completely gone to war with the US energy sector.” He said he didn’t remember investing in China.
On abortion, Vance did not respond if he would support Graham’s proposed nationwide ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with some exceptions. Vance said he thinks different states would probably want different laws, but “a minimum national standard is fine with me.”
He called himself “pro-life” but said he had “always believed in reasonable exceptions”.
Ryan said he supports codifying abortion rights established in Roe v. Wade, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. He said he opposes Ohio’s law banning most abortions after detection of fetal heart activity, as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, which was blocked Friday.
Vance agreed with Ryan that a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio should not have left the state to have an abortion, but he said the fact that the suspect was in the country illegally was a failure of weak border policies.
“You voted so many times against defunding the border wall, so many times for amnesty, Tim,” Vance said. “If you had done your job, she would never have been raped in the first place.”
On foreign policy, the two men split on what the US response should be if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to launch nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Ryan said the United States should be prepared with a “swift and meaningful response”, while Vance countered that the United States needs a “foreign policy establishment that puts the interests of our citizens first. “.
Ryan replied, “If JD were successful, Putin would go through Ukraine at this point. He would go to Poland.
“If I had a choice,” Vance retorted, “you would put money on the southern border, Tim, instead of throwing tons of money into Ukraine.” This echoed comments Vance had made in an interview prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying he “didn’t really care what happened to Ukraine one way or the other. another” because he wanted to see Biden focus on securing his own country’s borders.
Vance, however, said Taiwan was a “very different situation” from Ukraine because of its importance to US national security. “The reason Taiwan is different is because they make so many of our semiconductors, our computer chips. The whole modern economy would collapse without it,” Vance said.
Ryan has sought at times to put some distance between himself and his party, repeating his previous comments that Biden should not seek a second term in 2024 and calling Vice President Kamala Harris “absolutely wrong” for saying that the southern border was secure.
“I’m not here to fight or just tiptoe the Democratic Party line,” Ryan said. “I am here to tell the truth.”
Ryan said Vance didn’t have the guts to stand up to people in his own party, noting that at a rally in Ohio last month, Trump, who backed Vance, said, “JD embraces my a–, he wants my support then (a lot).”
Vance shot back, “I’m not going to take lessons in dignity and self-respect from a guy filmed kissing Chuck Schumer and begging him to be promoted to his next job. He’s the kind of guy Tim Ryan is.
Although the general election debate between Ryan and Vance was acrimonious, it did not lead to a near-physical altercation, as an Ohio GOP Senate debate did in March during the primary season. Former State Treasurer Josh Mandel and investment banker Mike Gibbons came face to face on the debate stage, yelling at each other, as Vance told them to stop fighting.
“Sit down. Come on,” Vance said, sitting in a row with the remaining candidates. “That’s ridiculous.”
At the end of Monday’s debate, Vance and Ryan shook hands.