In their final debate for the state’s most important Senate race, Republican J.D. Vance and Democrat Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio sparred angrily over issues of ideology and suitability for office. Mr. Vance attacked Mr. Ryan as ineffective and more liberal than he lets on, while Mr. Ryan painted his opponent as an extreme.
With Mr. Ryan, a skilled fund-raiser, positioning himself as an independent voice, the race in a state that former President Donald J. Trump easily won twice has stayed more competitive than original expectations among national observers. He still has a challenge, and national Democrats have not offered him much support thus far.
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Here are five points to remember from their heated hour-long discussion in Youngstown, Ohio:
A strikingly contentious and sometimes personal hour.
The closeness of the contest was evident in the debate’s condescending tone as the two men sparred. They occasionally called each other “friend,” “our boy,” or “buddy.” Even so, Mr. Ryan called his rival a fake in two languages. As they talked about immigration, Mr. Ryan observed, “J.D. Vance, all due respect, is a fraud.”
Then he quoted his “little Italian grandma,” who, according to him, observed, “You have two faces. Two: one for the camera and one for your professional interactions.
For his part, Mr. Vance contended that after spending years in government, Mr. Ryan was merely pretending to be moderate.
Each man tried to saddle the other with the problems of their national parties.
Mr. Ryan pointed out that he had challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a leadership position. Mr. Vance attempted to portray Mr. Ryan as a generic Democrat strongly connected to both President Biden and Mrs. Pelosi. She supported policies that were rammed down Ohioans’ throats, and you couldn’t hide from them, Mr. Vance said.
In reference to Mr. Vance’s previous employment as a venture capitalist in San Francisco, Mr. Ryan remarked, “If you want to run against Nancy Pelosi, relocate back to San Francisco and run against Nancy Pelosi.”
While campaigning alongside Mr. Vance, the far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mr. Ryan attempted to link the two. Additionally, he sought opportunities to demonstrate his distance from his party, such as by declaring, “I strongly disagree with President Biden when he’s talking about loosening some of the regulations down on the border.”
Additionally, he harshly criticized Mr. Vance’s shift to backing Mr. Trump. He said, “You were calling Trump America’s Hitler, then he backed you, and you said he was the greatest president of all time.” Mr. Vance disagreed with the description.
He raised issues with some of the more hawkish members of the government when asked to identify a point where he disagreed with Mr. Trump. He claimed that the Trump administration “was wrong in that they put a lot of horrible people in the administration who genuinely favored endless uninterrupted conflicts.”
A fight over what it means to be extreme on abortion.
A 10-year-old girl who had been raped drove over state lines to get an abortion earlier this year because Ohio’s widespread ban on the procedure made the state the center of a fight over abortion rights. The topic of the discussion quickly became heated.
When advocating for codifying Roe v. Wade, which the Supreme Court invalidated in June, Mr. Ryan remarked that “J.D. and his radical crew, they want to have a national abortion prohibition.” “They don’t like that folks have to travel to Illinois. They urge individuals to obtain passports and travel to Canada. The largest instance of governmental excess in modern times.
It was wording that was evocative of the privacy-focused argument made by proponents of abortion rights in Kansas before a referendum measure on the subject this summer. The 10-year-old should have been able to obtain an abortion, according to Mr. Vance, who also attempted to portray Mr. Ryan as being overly supportive of abortion rights.
He also made an attempt to divert the conversation by mentioning that the man who was detained and accused in the Ohio case was an illegal immigrant. He is undocumented, according to an earlier statement from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman.
She would never have been raped in the first place if Tim Ryan had done his job on border security, Mr. Vance claimed in an astonishing leap of logic. Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposed 15-week national abortion ban was praised by Mr. Vance, but like many Republicans, he was reluctant to go into detail about the exceptions he thought should be made.
For instance, he noted that while many Republicans support exceptions for incest, “an incest exception looks different at three weeks of pregnancy versus 39 weeks of pregnancy.”
A question about “great replacement theory” led to the rawest exchange of the night.
The candidates were questioned about a racist conspiracy theory that has contributed to mass murders around the nation and is based on the idea that non-white people will eventually replace white people.
Replacement theory has made its way into right-wing media, most notably Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program, where Mr. Vance is a frequent guest. Mr. Ryan criticized Mr. Vance for socializing with senators who “fuel this racist hatred” as he discussed the significance of the theory in the horrific massacre in Buffalo.
Mr. Vance lashed back, adding that he is “married to the daughter of South Asian immigrants,” saying “you are so desperate for political power that you’ll accuse me, the father of three beautiful mixed babies, of racism.”
In a campaign ad, he claimed that lax border policy would result in “more Democrat voters streaming into our nation” and warned of an “invasion” of immigrants. He clarified on Monday, though, that he was worried about illegal immigration and that the issue was not “about whites or nonwhites.”
You can support a border without harboring racist views, he argued. J.D., I would never discuss your family,” Mr. Ryan stated. You don’t want to discuss the fact that you share that belief with the radicals, she said. Mr. Vance insisted, “That’s awful, and I’ve never supported it.
Senator Rob Portman was the most popular person onstage.
While he has endorsed Mr. Vance, both Mr. Vance and Mr. Ryan have frequently referred to Mr. Portman, the center-right Ohio Republican who is retiring. By doing so, Mr. Ryan expresses his desire in working across party lines. It is a bow to the mainstream for Mr. Vance, who won the primary with support from the right.
Mr. Vance referred to the recommendation numerous times. Mr. Ryan cited instances in which they had worked together. At one point, Mr. Ryan said, “I’m not exactly clear why Rob Portman supports you. “You don’t agree with any of the concessions he’s been able to make in the past year,” the speaker said.
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