Rep. Tim Ryan, author JD Vance hold US Senate debate in Ohio

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Trump-endorsed Republican JD Vance are meeting in the first of two scheduled debates in their closely watched race for Ohio’s coveted open U.S. Senate seat

Julie Carr Smyth
Monday 10 October 2022 22:51 BST

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican JD Vance meet Monday in Cleveland for the first of two scheduled debates in their closely watched race for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat.

Ryan, a 10-term congressman from the blue-collar Youngstown area, and Vance, a venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” a memoir of his upbringing in Appalachian Ohio and Kentucky, are vying for the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.

Democrats view the Nov. 8 race as among their best chances nationally to flip a seat. Ryan has significantly outraised Vance in an increasingly Republican-leaning state that twice voted for Donald Trump for president.

Ryan ended the last fundraising period that ended June 30 with $3.6 million in the bank, compared to Vance's $630,000. Last week, the Ryan campaign reported raising $17.2 million between July 1 and the end of September. Vance, who received help in the primary from billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, has not reported his latest totals.

Former President Donald Trump's last-minute endorsement in the combative Republican primary helped carry Vance to a win in May amid the crowded field, which included a former state Republican Party chair and a former state treasurer.

Both Vance and Ryan appealed to moderates and members of the opposite party in their victory speeches. Ryan has sought at times to distance himself from President Joe Biden, including by speaking out against his recent student loan forgiveness proposal — though Vance is likely to link the two in Monday's debate.

Meanwhile, Vance now embraces and has campaigned with Trump, though he blasted the then-president in 2016. Those earlier statements prompted some Ohio Republicans to try to talk Trump out of his endorsement.

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