Vance, Ryan tie each other to national party leaders in Ohio Senate debate

Ryan said that Vance "kissed his ass" in reference to President Donald Trump.

Updated: October 17, 2022 - 8:28pm

Ohio Senate candidates Tim Ryan, D, and J.D. Vance, R, squared off on Monday in a public debate in which both attempted to paint the other as a lapdog in the service of their own party leaders.

Vance repeatedly asserted that Ryan, while serving in the House of Representatives, has voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "100% of the time." Ryan, meanwhile, said that Vance "kissed his ass" in reference to President Donald Trump while seeking his endorsement during the Republican primary.

Each candidate was asked to highlight an issue on which they disagreed with those party leaders. Vance pointed to Trump's appointment of hawkish figures such as former national security advisor John Bolton whom he asserted supported wars that would put Ohio's young men on the front line. Ryan, meanwhile, pointed out that he had challenged Pelosi for leadership in the House.

Both candidates pointed to the rising fentanyl crisis as an issue for Ohioans. Ryan asserted that securing the border was one of the best ways to combat the issue and highlighted his opposition to President Joe Biden's relaxing of border enforcement. He further touted a legislative plan to label fentanyl a "weapon of mass destruction."

Ryan also derided an allegedly fake non-profit Vance created to help people struggling with opioid addiction, a claim Vance denied. The "Hillbilly Elegy" author conceded that Ryan's position sounded good on paper, but said he didn't trust him to follow through with policies to actually secure the border. Vance highlighted Ryan's bringing of an illegal immigrant to the State of the Union as proof, alongside his voting record on other contentious issues.