YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WCMH) — As Ohioans flock to the polls in the second week of early voting, two U.S. Senate candidates hope to prove to voters — for the second time this month — that their platforms make them the most equipped to represent the Buckeye State in Washington, D.C.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican venture capitalist J.D. Vance, vying to replace Sen. Rob Portman, squared off for the final time Monday evening during an hour-long debate in Youngstown, one week after the two contenders tried to paint the other poorly from a Cleveland debate stage.
During Monday’s debate, the candidates again clashed over immigration, abortion, and the opioid drug crisis, but in the seven days since the statewide Nexstar debate, the Jan. 6 commission voted to subpoena former President Trump.
Ryan and Vance were asked whether Trump should honor the subpoena and answer questions publicly under oath.
Watch the first debate, in full, in the video player below.
“He should respond to the subpoena,” Ryan said. “He should come clean. He should talk about… we know that there’s been a call from the White House to somebody who was participating in the storming of the Capitol. We should know all of this and if he has nothing to hide, he should come clean and we should figure out what’s going on, and I do think that the insurrection was a group of people who were trying to overthrow the United States of America.”
“Look, I am not going to give the president of the United States legal advice about whether he should honor the subpoena,” Vance said. “I think it would probably be a pretty enlightening piece of testimony if he did honor the subpoena, but look, the Jan. 6 committee has shown from the very beginning that it’s not interested in the truth, that it’s interested in a political hit job.”
Last week, Vance, widely-known for authoring “Hillbilly Elegy” in 2016, derided Ryan as 20-year career politician whose staunch alignment with Democratic leadership has done little for Ohioans. Ryan returned the dig by chastising his opponent as a “Silicon Valley vulture capitalist” who espouses extremist, right-wing ideals.
“I think there were no major gaps here by either candidate, and I think they both did what they wanted to do,” Democratic strategist Dale Butland said following the Oct. 11 debate. “In that sense, I think it was a good debate, and I think the people who watched it came out the better for it.”
The majority of independent polling conducted after Ohio’s May primary – considered by polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight to be nonpartisan and unaffiliated with campaigns – has positioned Vance and Ryan in a statistical dead heat.
“The race to replace retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman continues to poll surprisingly close considering the state’s tilt to the right in recent years,” Dr. Thomas Sutton, director of Baldwin Wallace University’s Community Research Institute said recently. “The candidates are in a statistical tie with leaners added in.”