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Vance, Ryan spar in bitter Ohio Senate debate

Ohio Republican Senate hopeful JD Vance on Monday criticized his Democratic rival, Representative Tim Ryan. He suggested that the raped 10-year-old girl from Ohio who was forced to have an abortion in another state would not have been in that position had the Democrats secured the border.

“Why was a 10-year-old girl raped in our community, in our state in the first place? What they never mention is that the poor girl was raped by an illegal alien,” Vance said Monday night during the Ohio Senate debate. “If you had done your job, she would never have been raped.”

“Do your border security work, don’t lecture me about opinions I don’t actually have,” Vance added.

The debate consisted of an hour in which Vance and Ryan insulted each other, with Ryan — who has represented the Youngstown area for more than 20 years — characterizing Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, as a political extremist and a Silicon Valley con artist.

“Ohio needs a kicker, not a kisser,” Ryan said, pointing to Vance’s steadfast support for former President Donald Trump after criticizing him during his 2016 presidential run.

At a rally in Ohio last month, Trump said that Vance “kissed my a**” for support.

“We need leaders who have the courage to take on their own party — and I’ve proved it — and he was called an a**-kisser by the former president,” Ryan said.

The Democrat also slapped Vance for repeating Trump’s electoral lies, helping fund insurgent defenses, and campaigning with and supporting certain members of the Republican Party.

Democrat Tim Ryan

Ohio Republican Senate hopeful JD Vance (left) on Monday met his Democratic rival, Rep. Tim Ryan (right) criticized, suggesting that the raped 10-year-old girl from Ohio who was forced to have an abortion in another state wouldn’t have been put in that position had the Democrats secured the border?

Rep.  Tim Ryan (left) and author JD Vance (right) spent an hour insulting each other Monday night, with Ryan characterizing Vance as a political extremist and a Silicon Valley con artist, and Vance suggesting that Ryan had done nothing in his 20 years in the Congres

Rep. Tim Ryan (left) and author JD Vance (right) spent an hour insulting each other Monday night, with Ryan characterizing Vance as a political extremist and a Silicon Valley con artist, and Vance suggesting that Ryan had done nothing in his 20 years in the Congres

“Who’s walking around with Florida governor Ron DeSantis who wants to ban books? Who’s walking around with Lindsey Graham, who wants a national abortion ban? You’re walking around with Marjorie Taylor Greene, the absolute craziest politician in America,” Ryan told Vance.

“That’s why I’m joining to represent the exhausted majority – Democrats, Republicans and Independents, against the extremists,” Ryan added.

In turn, Vance suggested that Ryan do nothing to help his Rust Belt district, claiming that the longtime legislature had never helped create jobs while Vance had a business.

“So your consultants gave you this rule and you don’t really know it,” Vance said at one point, when Ryan screwed up an attack rule about how Vance had invested money in China.

At another point, Vance compared career politicians to “toddlers,” saying they “accuse you of doing exactly what they do all the time.”

“I’m not going to apologize for having spent twenty years of my adult life trying to help one of the most economically affected regions of Ohio. And I’ve dedicated my life to bringing that region back,” Ryan hit back. “JD, you went to California, drank wine and ate cheese.”

Vance replied, “I admire the spirit of service. What I don’t admire is the failure of the performance. See how Youngstown fared during your leadership. That’s what I don’t admire.’

Much of the first half of the debate was devoted to abortion, with Vance saying he remained pro-life and Ryan saying he wanted to return the land to Roe v. Wade.

“He supports a national abortion ban, in which he wants women to get passports and go to Canada,” Ryan said. “We need to have some moderation in this matter. He has a very extreme point of view.’

“JD called your rape troublesome, didn’t you?” Ryan asked, referring to headlines that said so much, despite Vance’s campaign saying the Ohio Republican’s words had been taken out of context. “Rape isn’t annoying, it’s a great tragedy.”

“This is the biggest government overrun in the history of our lives,” Ryan said more broadly of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.

Thus, the two men came to the subject of the 10-year-old girl who had to travel to Indiana to have an abortion. An undocumented immigrant, Gerson Fuentes, has been charged with two rapes.

Ryan also had to answer the question of why he used to be pro-life, but now supports abortion rights.

“I had some very personal conversations with women in Ohio who had experienced tragedies that required abortions for various reasons,” Ryan said. “And I just found out through the course of these conversations that the government has no place in this, that this should be left to the woman.”

On other social issues, Vance said he would vote against a piece of legislation that would codify same-sex marriage because it would open up religious institutions to lawsuits.

Both candidates supported easing restrictions on marijuana, although Vance warned the country should not be “soft on crime.”

“You often hear someone being thrown in jail for smoking a joint…but that’s just true on paper,” Vance warned. “And if you look at the underlying allegation, you’ll see that not only did they smoke a joint, they smoked a joint and then hit an older woman in the head with a gun.”

“Those people should go to jail,” Vance said.

Vance continued to support Trump through his many legal troubles.

“I’ve seen nothing to suggest that the President of the United States be thrown in jail,” Vance said.

He was less intrusive about GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who remained at the top of his party.

“Whoever runs,” he replied when asked who should become Senate leader. “Presumably Mitch McConnell will run, if someone else is running we can have that conversation.”

Ryan reiterated that he did not want President Joe Biden to run for reelection.

“No, I’ve been very clear that I’d like to see a generational change. Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, the president, everyone. We need a new generation of leaders,” Ryan said.

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