Voters have been treated to not one, but two debates between Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance to see who will replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) for Ohio's open Senate seat. Judging from last Monday's debate performance, and this debate performance which took place a week later, it appears that desperation and personal attacks are a habit for Rep. Ryan in debates.
While Rep. Ryan has claimed to be a moderate and an "independent voice," he repeated the Biden administration's narrative on the misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" in the very first question, despite debate moderator Lindsay McCoy aptly pointing out that the bill "spends more federal money."
Vance also mentioned what others have said, which is that the bill will actually add to the deficit. As he has done before, which even the most biased fact-checkers have backed up, Vance mentioned that Ryan has voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time. This, as well as Ryan pointing out how he had to "suck up" to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), would come up throughout the debate.
Moderator Betram de Souza asked Ryan to speak out against Pelosi and "point to an issue that Speaker Pelosi has totally bungled and therefore deserves public reputation." Ryan merely responded that he ran against Pelosi for leadership, and attacked Vance for his support from former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "I took her on, I took her," Ryan emphasized about Pelosi.
Vance had been asked to speak to how Ryan had called him "Trump's ass kisser," with regards to how the former president endorsed him in the primary and has campaigned for him. He was asked in which he publicly disagreed with Trump, to which Vance responded "I disagree with the president on a number of things," specifically with how the administration added "bad personnel folks" who advocated for "nonstop wars."
When it comes to abortion, Rep. Ryan repeated his answer practically word for word about his stance from last week's debate, which was that "we read at least a couple of articles every week, of young people, underage girls who have been raped, or women who have had, uh, significant problems with their pregnancy, not be able to get help in the state. They gotta go to Indiana, they gotta go to Illinois, and that's not good enough for JD Vance, he supports a national abortion ban, in which he wants women to have to get a passport and have to go to Canada."
Vance had the chance to also call Ryan out as a proper "extremist," which is that while Ryan claims to want to "codify Roe v. Wade," speaking of a bill that will actually expand it, Vance pointed out that Ryan's "actual voting record here has supported abortion, without limits, up to 40 weeks of pregnancy," and even beyond birth, when it comes to babies born alive from failed abortions. "That is not the Roe v. Wade standard, Tim, and as much as you call me an extremist, you're the extremist." He also had the chance to repeat a particularly performance moment from last week, in which he called out how the suspect in the case of the 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio, as Townhall covered, was an illegal immigrant.
.@JDVance1: "Tim Ryan voted for a piece of legislation that would prevent doctors from providing care to babies who survive botched abortions. As much as you call me an extremist, you're the extremist on this issue." pic.twitter.com/TfjuGzXuKo— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 17, 2022
Tim Ryan has voted to make taxpayer funded late-term abortion the law of the land in the United States.— JD Vance for U.S. Senate Press (@JDVancePress) October 17, 2022
There is one extremist on that stage and it’s Tim Ryan #OHSenDebate
Rep. Ryan last week, on the topic of the opioid addiction, went after Vance personally, despite how Vance's mother struggled with addiction and was thus raised by his Mamaw. When asked how he would use his position in the U.S. Senate to curb the crisis, he spoke in part about closing the border, blaming Ryan and the Biden administration for the issue being so bad.
Ryan similarly did that this week when claiming that Vance had a non-profit that he called "fake" and "a sham" that worked with "pill-pushers." Vance responded by saying Ryan can "fund his lies" with "pharmaceutical blood money" from companies profiting from the opioid crisis. Ryan also claimed that Vance hires foreign workers. Such attacks from Ryan made for a longer debate, as Vance was given a chance to respond each time.
As the debate went on, Ryan ramped up the personal attacks even more. During the topic of gun control, the congressman reaffirmed how he thinks Vance is "extreme," by tying him in with Alex Jones.
"We've talked about the national abortion ban, we talked about he thinks that the election was stolen, which was one of the reasons Trump agreed to support him." After mentioning at length how Alex Jones said the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, Ryan claimed that "our guy J.D., said this is one of the most credible news sources in the whole country."
Ryan added "I just want people to know it's like we are running for the United States Senate... and he's running around backing these extremists, the most extreme people in the country, a guy who denied Sandy Hook" also offering "it's maddening."
Vance let Ryan get out his rant before emphasizing it was "a complete fabrication." He also pointed out that Ryan "didn't actually answer the question" and "didn't give you a single example of something that meaningfully reduce gun violence either on our streets or in our schools."
Vance claps back as Tim Ryan complains that his microphone isn't working:— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 17, 2022
"This is a complete fabrication. I never said that. Go and run the tape." pic.twitter.com/pOkf901YlE
Similarly on that topic, Vance called Ryan an "extremist" right back when it comes to cashless bail which allows violent criminals out and "makes streets less safe," which Vance called said "is on the far-left of his own party."
When Vance tried to offer a position that he suggested Ryan would likely agree with him on, that is to say the mental health problems of shooters, Ryan scoffed it off and questioned why Sen. Portman would have endorsed Vance.
Perhaps one of the sharpest attacks came when de Souza referenced the Great Replacement Theory during the immigration segment and claimed Vance warned of an "immigrant invasion" in asking who they are and how they're coming in.
Citing record-high border crossings, Vance said they're "primarily" coming in through "Tim Ryan and Joe Biden's wide-open Southern border, to the tune of 2.5 million people," also mentioning drug and sex trafficking that comes with that. Vance offered Democratic leadership believes that more immigrants ensures Republicans never win again.
Vance also clarified it's not about white versus not white immigrants, and shared that his wife is the daughter of Southeast Asian immigrants who came here legally, who has "enriched" his life. He went on to once more speak out about illegal immigration, adding "if you want to start a relationship with this country... your introduction to this country should not be breaking its laws."
On that same topic, Ryan accused Vance of "running around with" supporters of the Great Replacement theory and "agrees with" and is "peddling" the theory that motivated the suspect in the Buffalo shooting from May, also claiming "these guys just want to this stoke racial violence."
Vance made himself heard to call Ryan's response "disgusting" and say "this is exactly what happens when the media and people like Tim Ryan accuse me of engaging in the Great Replacement Theory," which Ryan cut in to once more accuse Vance of "peddling."
Following the brief crosstalk, Vance pointed out that "my own children, my biracial children, get attacked by scumbags online and in person because you are so desperate for political power that you'll accuse me, the father of three beautiful biracial babies, of engaging in racism. We're sick of it."
Vance then once again emphasized his point, that "you can believe in a border without being a racist, you can believe in the country without being a racist." He added "this just shows how desperate this guy is for political power," about Ryan, mentioning "I know you've been in office for 20 years, Tim, and I know it's a sweet gig, but you're so desperate not to have a real job that you'll slander me and slander my family. It's disgraceful."
J.D. Vance: "My own children, my biracial children, get attacked by scumbags online and in person because you are so desperate for political power that you'll accuse me, the father of three beautiful biracial babies, of engaging in racism. We are sick of it." pic.twitter.com/gPH5wIQMz8— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 17, 2022
As the moderators tried to move on, Ryan shot back "hold on, I think I've struck a nerve with this guy," which Vance acknowledged he did, since "normal people, Tim Ryan, when you insult their families, you strike a nerve." Ryan denied he talked about his family and told Vance "don't try to spin this," again connecting him to the "extremists" with the Great Replacement Theory, which Vance called "disgusting" and emphasized he didn't believe in.
The ugly moment meant that the debate next moved to closing statements, during which Ryan also went after Vance, claiming "I never left, I didn't abandon this place, go for higher--greener pasturers in San Francisco and then wanna come back and parachute in with $55 million of out-of-state money from the biggest corporations in the entire country, that ones that ship the jobs overseas."
Also on Monday, Suffolk University/USA Today released a poll that not only showed Vance ahead, with 47 percent to Ryan's 45 percent, but with better numbers when it comes to last week's debate. When asked who they thought did better than they expected in the debate, 44.74 percent said Vance, while 35.09 percent said Ryan.
The poll was conducted October 11-15 with 500 likely midterm voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
OHIO POLL: 23% of likely voters watched the debate between J.D. Vance and Tim Ryan— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) October 17, 2022
Who did better than you expected?
(R) Vance 45% (+10)
(D) Ryan 35
(R) Vance 56% (+35)
(D) Ryan 21%
Overall Result: Vance +2 (Suffolk Overstated Dem support by 9.5% in 2016 and 2018 pic.twitter.com/Pa2tEPu3I4
With that poll included, RealClearPolitics shows a +2 lead for Vance.