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J.D. Vance slams ‘fraud’ Tim Ryan ahead of first Ohio Senate debate

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance slammed his Democrat opponent Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) ahead of the pair’s first formal debate set for Monday evening.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Vance called Ryan “a fraud” and expressed optimism that on Election Day he would be elected to the U.S. Senate and ensure a key seat remains in the GOP‘s column as the party seeks to regain control of the upper chamber of Congress.

“We’re starting to get the message out consistently that Tim Ryan is a fraud, and his voting record doesn’t align with the presentation on the campaign,” Vance said. “So [I] feel good about the race. We’re ahead, I also think we have the momentum, and hopefully we can take whatever lead we have and expand it over the next 30 days.”


Polling throughout the summer showed a competitive race with an advantage for the Democrat Ryan, but more recent polling indicates Vance has pulled ahead. He currently leads the Real Clear Politics average by 1.2% and recently appeared at a rally with former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed the first-time candidate.

Ryan, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002, has cast himself as a more centrist Democrat with a consistent record of bipartisanship. But Vance has challenged the Ohio congressman’s track record on the campaign trail.

At a recent rally, Vance slammed his opponent for voting “for everything that has made this country less free, less prosperous, and less secure” and said that “with Tim Ryan, you never have to wonder, he’s going to vote exactly how Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden tell him to vote.”

Ryan campaign spokesperson Jordan Fuja told the Washington Examiner in a statement that “Vance continues to project his own shortcomings onto Tim” and that voters in the state of Ohio “know that Tim will continue to work across the aisle and fight like hell for Ohio in the Senate.”

FILE – JD Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio., Sept. 17, 2022. Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who has made his opponent’s questionable record fighting the opioid epidemic a central theme of his campaign for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat, has accepted campaign donations over the years from drug distributors blamed for key roles in the crisis, an Associated Press review found. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar, File)

Tom E. Puskar/AP

“San Francisco phony J.D. Vance has sold Ohioans out at every turn by calling for a national abortion ban, saying law enforcement is ‘corrupt,’ and bringing a Purdue Pharma mouthpiece directly to the Ohio communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic,” Fuja said.

Vance spoke to the Examiner ahead of a speech he gave Saturday at the “Restoring a Nation” academic conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Catholic university in eastern Ohio. Steubenville, he said, is one town that he has “really come to love” as he has traversed the state throughout his campaign and provides “a good backdrop” for it.

“Steubenville is a classically American town,” the Hillbilly Elegy author and venture capitalist said. “It’s one of these places that’s not unlike the town that I grew up, Middletown, where you had a very proud manufacturing economy, undergirding a very stable middle class, and we suffered the effects of globalization more than most of our cities. Most of the cities in the country … were hurt a little bit by globalization. Steubenville, Middletown, and Youngstown were hurt a lot.”

Once a major industrial town, Steubenville’s manufacturing economy waned in the final decades of the 20th century, as the steel manufacturing that served as the town’s economic engine shuttered and the city’s population rapidly declined. The town today has a population of just over 18,000, according to the 2020 census, with an estimated poverty rate of 24.8%.

Cognizant of the former industrial town’s wounded economy and culture, Vance noted that the economic decline of the town was a direct cause of the social and cultural issues that have afflicted it as the industry has left.

“I think there’s a very direct line between the decline of the manufacturing economy, the decline of family stability, and then some deeper structural issues that moved in like a rise in domestic violence and drug use,” he lamented. “It’s pretty clear when the local economy and the community supported by that local economy falls apart, people really suffer. In a lot of ways, our generation is picking up the pieces from a generation of Americans that had a lot of manufacturing capacity, a lot of family stability, and a lot of social harmony.”

“The leadership squandered it and we’re left to rebuild and renew what once existed and hopefully build something new in the process,” he added.

Vance said that his trip to the conference was his sixth visit to Steubenville, and noted that the town is experiencing something of a renewal, while still maintaining its working-class roots.


“It’s got a very interesting combination of industrial town working-class vibe, but also a very cool intellectual climate with Franciscan University,” Vance said of the town. “It’s also just beautiful. If you’ve been to Steubenville … I think it really brings up some of the beautiful parts of Ohio and what we were building at a time in our country when we were focused on building beautiful things.”

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