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Ohio Senate Debate with Ryan, Vance Devolves into Personal Attacks

Both candidates sought to tailor their messages to working-class voters

The first debate between Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance devolved quickly into attacks Monday, with the candidates for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat accusing each other of being responsible for job losses and putting party loyalty ahead of voters’ needs.

Vance said Ryan had supported policies as a congressman that led to a 10-year-old girl in Ohio being raped. Ryan said Vance had started a “fake nonprofit” to help people overcome addiction issues. The two accused each other of being beholden to their party, with Ryan calling Vance an “a— kisser” to former President Donald Trump at a recent rally, and Vance saying Ryan’s 100 percent voting record with President Joe Biden means he is not the reasonable moderate he says he is.

The face-off between Ryan, a 10-term congressman, and Vance, a venture capitalist and author of Hillbilly Elegy, for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman became one of the most contentious debates of the general election season so far. The race is one of the most expensive and closely watched of the midterms, with Democrats viewing it as a possible pickup opportunity in November.

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