COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – With just two weeks left until Election Day, the candidates for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat have been busy on the campaign trail.

Republican candidate JD Vance and Democratic candidate Tim Ryan are both working to keep the momentum up in these final two weeks.

“The Republican Party of complaining has to stop,” Vance said. “The Republican Party of doing is going to start in November.”

“The polls aren’t capturing a lot and I think the fundamentals of that are in our favor,” Ryan said.

Ryan spent Tuesday morning at Bethel AME Church in Columbus answering questions from voters. They asked a wide range of questions, but most focused on gun legislation.

“It’s not a Democrat or Republican thing,” Ryan said. “I think 80% to 90% of Americans believe in universal background checks and how we keep these weapons of war out of the hands of criminals and 18-year-olds.”

Vance brought in Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for his campaign event Tuesday morning. Both Graham and Vance focused on southern border control and the state of the economy.

“You can’t just understand this stuff at an intellectual level, you also have to have a good heart for it and understand what it feels like when working people really suffer,” Vance said. “When groceries are too much for working families.”

While candidates are spending time at separate stops on the campaign trail, they will meet for a Fox News forum on Nov. 1, one week before the election. Vance said the forum was supposed to be a debate, saying Ryan did not agree to that format.

“I think it’s important for people to see us exchange ideas, not just talk at them,” Vance said.

Ryan’s team did not confirm or deny whether the original request was for a debate, but did issue a statement in August stating, “Once JD agrees to these three debates, Tim Ryan will debate JD any other time and place.” These are the three debates Ryan’s team listed:

  • One hosted by WFMJ-TV at Youngstown’s historic Stambaugh Auditorium, on Sept. 26, 2022
  • One hosted by WLWT News 5, at Parrish Auditorium at Miami University’s Hamilton Campus, on Oct. 4, 2022;
  • One hosted by the Ohio Debate Commission, at the Akron-Summit County Public Library on Oct. 12, 2022.

Ryan said the Fox News Forum is a good opportunity.

“An opportunity to talk to a lot of Republican voters, a lot of independent voters who spend time watching Fox News,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a very good message for them.”

The most recent polling from NBC4, Emerson College, and The Hill showed Vance with less than a one-point lead in the race, and other polls also show it’s going to be a tight contest.

After both candidates held their campaign events in Columbus, the Republican National Party and Ohio Democratic Party issued responses: 

  • “Ohio voters know that historic inflation and falling wages are a direct result of Tim Ryan’s disastrous record of voting with Joe Biden 100% of the time. Buckeye Staters will win when Tim Ryan loses on Election Day,” Republican National Committee Spokesperson Matt Fisher said.
  • “J.D. Vance standing arm-in-arm with the biggest cheerleader of a national abortion ban is further proof that he will stop at nothing to restrict the health and freedom of Ohio women. Today’s visit sends a clear message to Ohio women: J.D. Vance and Graham are two politicians obsessed with inserting themselves into deeply personal decisions that belong between Ohio women and their doctors,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.

For more on where each candidate stands on key issues, click here.

For everything you need to know to cast your vote, click here.