COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As the race for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat remains close to a dead heat, the candidates continue to pound pavement across Ohio, hoping to pick up as many supporters as they can.

At campaign events in Franklin County Wednesday, both Republican candidate JD Vance and Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan told NBC4 that their focus in these last three weeks before the election is to get voters to spread their messages as they double down on key issues.

Ryan, who has spent much of his campaign focusing on energy and climate change, discussed his goal to usher in younger politicians to replace longstanding and aging incumbents.

“This is an opportunity for us as a state to send a signal to the rest of the country that we are prepared to be leaders,” Ryan said at a campaign event with several dozen students at Ohio State University.

Ryan also reaffirmed his commitment to bipartisanship, aligning himself with Ohioans, he said, over political party or ideology. He said compromise and working across the aisle is something Ohioans can’t count on Vance to do.

“With me, they’re going to have a straight shooter, somebody who tells them the truth and they’re going to have somebody who works in their best interest,” Ryan said. “That may not always be a Democratic proposal, it may be a Republican proposal. I’ll help with that if I think it’s in the best interest of the state.”

While Ryan refers to himself as part of a younger generation setting its stake in Congress, Vance, a first-time candidate for any elected office, said Ryan has had plenty of time to make the changes he’s proposed.

“The final argument I’m making down the stretch here is Tim Ryan had his chance,” Vance said. “Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have had their chance, and it just hasn’t worked.”

At the Franklin County GOP headquarters, campaigning with Sens. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Vance said if elected, he will ‘take the country in a different direction.’ Among Vance’s top priorities are border security and inflation reduction.

He also doubled down on his stance that more needs to be done to support law enforcement.

“If you want streets to be safer again, you have to empower the cops to do the job and to do it well,” Vance said. “Right now, they don’t feel like they have that and we’re all suffering the consequences.”

The race between Vance and Ryan in Ohio could help decide which party holds the majority in the U.S. Senate come Nov. 8.