Tim Ryan, who aspires to occupy the Ohio seat in the Senate, considers that his boss should not stand for re-election
After weeks of negotiations, tug of war over the time, place and dynamics to follow, the Ohio Senate nominees met for the first time this Monday in a highly anticipated televised debate. Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan (49 years old) and Republican lawyer James David “JD” Vince (38 years old) will face each other again in a second face-to-face in a week. The FOX News studios in Cleveland became the scene of cross-party arguments as the liberal and conservative candidates, vying for retired Republican Senator Rob Portman’s crucial seat , showed both sides of the electoral coin in the decisive appointment of November 8.
And it is that Ohio has become an interesting case study when it comes to addressing the various trends of the legislative elections in the United States. Democrats and Republicans are fighting for the control of both chambers and some states of the country reflect in this final stretch of the campaign the reality of a nation more divided than ever.
Abortion, immigration, the economy, firearms, crime and police forces, the opioid epidemic and the electoral process were the main topics of discussion. Ryan and Vance are competing in one of the closest races for the Senate, as evidenced by the FiveThirtyEight polling average, which gives the Democrat just 0.3 points ahead of the Republican. The winner of the electoral contest for the Ohio seat could condition the final result, determining the balance of power in the US Senate, which is currently tied 50-50 between liberals and conservatives and Vice President Kamala Harris has tiebreaker power.
Abortion, following the recent Supreme Court reversal, was the first to be addressed. Ryan accused Vance of calling pregnant women for rape an “inconvenience”, to which the Republican defended himself by denying that he had ever uttered that word. “I am pro-life. I always have been and I grew up in a poor family and in a poor community. I saw a lot of women get abortions as a child,” Vance explained, adding, “Some minimum national standard is totally fine with me,” about Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposed national abortion ban that led to a nationwide ban. However, last year he was asked if he thought the exception for rape and incest should be included, to which JD Vance replied, “It’s not about whether a woman should be forced to have a child, it’s about allowing the child live”.
The most unexpected moment of the night was Tim Ryan’s reaction to the debate moderator’s question about the possible re-election of President Joe Biden in the next general election. The Democratic candidate for the Senate responded that “no” he agrees and that he has been “very clear” about it, taking into account the age of the president. Often in the spotlight for his notorious oversights, Biden became the oldest president of the United States in the entire history of the country and, if he ran again in the presidential elections, he would run for re-election in 2024 with 82 years. “I would like to see a generational change, with Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, the president… Everyone”Ryan emphasized. But Biden was not the only target of the Democratic candidate’s criticism. “Kamala Harris is dead wrong,” Ryan said of his comments that “the southern border is secure.” “It’s not safe. We have a lot of work to do,” he added.
Statements that fell like a jug of cold water in the White House, but that gave voice to the internal debate between members of the Democratic leader’s own ranks. Liberal candidates from swing states, such as Tim Ryan, have pushed their campaigns seeking to separate themselves from the Biden Administration with a certain “independent mindset” in order to encompass votes that would otherwise go unheeded.
In contrast, JD Vance decided to ally himself with Donald Trump during the primaries for his candidacy for the Senate, despite having harshly criticized him in the past, reflecting the strength and power still existing among the electoral base of the former Republican president.
The conservatives have all the paperwork to win the governorship of the state of Ohio, but nothing has been decided yet in the Senate. Next Monday the second of the debates agreed between both candidates will take place.