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Tim Ryan and JD Vance argue over authenticity and abortion in first Ohio Senate debate

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CLEVELAND — Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan and his Republican rival, author JD Vance, jumped into Monday night’s Ohio Senate debate with the same goal: to portray the other as a fake unworthy of the job.

In a race that could determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years, Ryan and Vance debated who had expressed genuine concern about the opioid epidemic and the loss of manufacturing jobs to China — two of the most pressing issues facing the state. faced. They also fought over who had the most sensible stance on abortion, a major theme in this year’s midterm elections. And they repeatedly pushed about who was the most credible Ohioan.

Vance, a venture capitalist with ties to Silicon Valley whose memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” became an Oscar-nominated film, characterized Ryan as a 20-year-old orphan from Washington, DC, who had lost touch with voters in his Youngstown area. neighbourhood. Ryan, who has spent most of his adult life in elected office, has framed Vance as a wine-and-cheese coastal elite who also goes around with election deniers while submissive to former President Donald Trump.

“I don’t kiss anyone like him,” Ryan said of Vance, paraphrasing a phrase Trump used at a recent meeting in Ohio to describe his relationship with Vance, once a sharp critic of Trump.

“Ohio needs a kicker,” Ryan added. “No… kisser.”

Vance shot back: “Well-rehearsed line, Tim.” Earlier in the hour-long debate, he had repulsed a similar attack by a… speech in which Ryan joked that he had to “suck” his “future boss,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.

“I’m not going to lecture on dignity and self-esteem from a man who was caught on video kissing Chuck Schumer and begging him for a promotion,” Vance said. “We’re approaching Halloween and Tim Ryan has donned a costume in which he pretends to be a moderately moderate.”

The debate here in Cleveland, which was broadcast statewide, was the first of two scheduled for Election Day. Ryan and Vance hope to succeed with Republican Senator Rob Portman’s resignation, and polls to indicate a close race, with small margins on either side falling by the margin of error. Vance struggles to raise money but is backed by more than $30 million in ads bought by outside groups, while Ryan, a prolific fundraiser, has received little financial backing from national Democrats.

Ryan’s outreach to moderate and independent voters was the cornerstone of his campaign. On Monday, he regularly tried to characterize Vance as too extreme for a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 2012.

“Who says the election was stolen? JD Vance does,” Ryan said before naming several Republicans who have been vilified on the left. “Who’s walking around with Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who wants to ban books? You walk around with [South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey Graham, who wants a national abortion ban. You walk around with [Georgia Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene, the absolute loneliest politician in America. This is a dangerous group, and we must confront it. That is why I am joining to represent the exhausted majority: Democrats, Republicans and Independents.”

A moderator’s questions about abortion — an issue that has animated the Ohio Senate race not so much as jobs and the economy — provoked some of the most direct answers Vance has given on the subject, particularly about Graham’s proposed ban. of 15 weeks.

“I’m totally fine with a minimum national standard,” said Vance. “We’re talking 5 month old babies, fully formed babies, who can feel pain. No civilized country in the world allows elective abortion this late in pregnancy. I don’t think the United States should be an exception.”

Vance also said he believes in “reasonable exceptions” under which abortion should be allowed, citing the much-discussed case of a 10 year old girl from Ohio who traveled to neighboring Indiana for an abortion in the summer after she was allegedly raped. He then quickly turned to questions about the suspect’s immigration status and blamed Ryan.

“If you had done your job, she would never have been raped in the first place,” Vance said. “Do your border security work.”

Ryan, who was anti-abortion earlier in his political career, said Monday night that he believes the constitutional right to abortion, which was lost when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, should be enshrined in federal law. .

“This is the largest government overrun in the history of our lives,” Ryan said. “A complete violation of the personal liberty and freedom of women in this state.”

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