Ryan and Vance compete for U.S. Senate seat in Ohio

Ohio’s U.S. Senate race pits a political newcomer against a longtime congressman vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland Twp., has been in the U.S. House of Representatives for 19 years, serving two years in the Ohio Senate before that. He ran in the Democratic Party presidential primary, withdrawing in October 2019.

Republican J.D. Vance of Cincinnati is a Middletown native, author of Hillbilly Elegy and co-founder of Narya, a venture capital firm in Cincinnati. Endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Vance is making his first bid for political office.

They are competing for a six-year term in a job that pays $174,000 annually.

Ryan has outraised Vance, collecting $21.8 million for the reporting period ending June 30, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Vance had $3.5 million in contributions by that date, the most recent with reports filed by both candidates. Updated campaign finance data will be available on Oct. 15.

While Ryan dominated the airwaves with ads this summer, Vance is now benefitting from a $28 million ad buy for him by the Senate Leadership Fund PAC connected with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY.

Vance’s campaign links Ryan to President Joe Biden, saying Ryan “rubber stamped Joe Biden’s leftist schemes” after Ryan in August voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, which addresses climate change, lowers prescription drug costs, addresses global warming, modernizes the Internal Revenue Service, and raises taxes on some billion-dollar corporations.

“I would not vote for the boondoggle spending projects that drive inflation,” said Vance, who also criticizes spending in the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided COVID-19 relief.

Ryan said all three bills helped everyday people and boosted the economy.

“Ohio families are feeling the pain of inflation, and I’m proud of the bills I voted for that would inject hundreds of millions dollars into the American economy, help create thousands of good-paying jobs, and bring supply chains back home,” Ryan said.

Ryan calls Vance an “extremist” who touts the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump. Ryan noted a now-deleted tweet from Vance calling the people jailed on charges in the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol “political prisoners.”

“The most fundamental way to undermine a democracy is to start calling into question our elections,” Ryan said. “And we see how this cancer is spreading throughout the country, of people saying that you can’t rely on our own elections when we know that’s not the case. I think that’s very, very dangerous.”

Vance said the election had serious problems and “if it was stolen from anyone it is the American people.”

“January 6 was a dark day in our country’s history but I don’t think ultimately what happened on Jan. 6 is a separate issue from Nov. 3, 2020. I think what happened on Nov. 3, 2020, more importantly not election day itself, but all of the things that led up to Nov. 3, my views on that stuff hasn’t changed,” he said.

Here is a look at where Ryan and Vance stand on the issues:

Tim Ryan

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Name: Tim Ryan
Age: 49
Address: Howland Twp. In Trumbull County
Education: Bachelor's in political science-Bowling Green State University; Juris Doctor-University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law
Family: Wife, two sons, one daughter
Current Employment:Member U.S House of Representatives since January 2003
Political Experience:U.S. Congress, Ohio senator January 2001-January 2003; former president of Trumbull County Young Democrats
Political Party:Democrat

Ryan’s campaign focuses on what he calls “cutting workers in on the deal” and says taming inflation and continuing the economic recovery is crucial.

“I think we need a tax cut for workers right now to absorb some of these high costs. In mid- to long term we’ve got to bring these supply chains back,” Ryan said. “We absolutely have to make stuff here in the United States again. We let all these jobs go overseas and then the pandemic happens and we realize we don’t have the supply chain that we need here.”

He said the U.S. must dominate in advanced manufacturing, electric vehicles and clean energy like wind turbines and solar, and reshore pharmaceutical and other manufacturing in the U.S., rather than allowing China and other countries to get those jobs.

“Bringing back (jobs) and building the jobs of the future where there is real opportunity for jobs that pay well,” Ryan said. “A lot of it centers around manufacturing, the jobs that you guys lost in Dayton and that we lost in the Mahoning Valley. And really having an industrial policy where we bring those jobs back.”

He said the newly approved CHIPS Act, which will boost American semiconductor research, development and production, is a good start on that industrial policy, and the $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure law he also supported will pay for critical infrastructure and broadband improvements.

Government also needs to bolster funding for vocational education and other workforce training programs so businesses can find trained workers, Ryan said.

“I think Ohio can be the manufacturing powerhouse of not just the country, but the world, and that’s how you do it,” Ryan said.

He said the middle class took a huge hit from disinvestment, unfair trade and outsourcing, particularly after the original North American Free Trade Agreement was approved in the 1990s. He supported Trump renegotiating that pact with Mexico and Canada to include more labor and environmental standards and create a more level playing field for U.S. companies.

Ryan supports increasing the minimum wage, making it easier for unions to organize, providing federal support for child care and universal preschool and expanding Medicare to people starting at age 60 and allowing buy-ins at 50. He wants Medicare to negotiate all drug prices, not just the ones covered under the Inflation Reduction Act.

“I think that all has to be paid for. These are good investments,” said Ryan, who wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations and look for ways to eliminate waste in federal programs.

Ryan co-sponsored the proposed Social Security 2100 Act which would expand the payroll tax cap on higher-income workers, shore up the trust fund and increase benefits.

While he opposes Biden’s new plan to cancel some federal student loan debt, Ryan supports expanding existing loan forgiveness programs to include farmers, rural health care providers and caregivers, and says people should be able to renegotiate their interest payments with both federal and private lenders.

He also supports reforming the filibuster and passing laws to protect voting rights and reproductive rights for women, including codifying the now overturned Roe v. Wade decision. He co-sponsored the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination and protect the rights of LGBTQ people.

Ryan wants gun reform, including universal background checks and closing the gun-show loophole, to battle what he calls “an epidemic of gun violence.”

And he said immigration reform should give a path to citizenship to law-abiding, tax-paying immigrants.

“I’ve long been a strong proponent for safe, secure borders. America should always be welcoming to immigrants, but we’ve got to know who is coming across our border,” Ryan said. “That’s why I helped start the Border Security Technology Caucus and disagreed with President Biden’s decision to turn back Title 42.”

He said he also worked on bipartisan efforts to address the opioid and fentanyl crisis by investing in treatment and more law enforcement funding to battle drugs.

Ryan also called for criminal justice reform and introduced legislation to help local police departments provide immersive training programs.

“We need to have accountability for cops who are in the wrong and violate people’s rights, but we shouldn’t be making it harder for good cops to do their jobs,” Ryan said. “We need to invest in making sure our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to do their job well and keep all Ohioans safe.”

J.D. Vance

Name: J.D. Vance
Age: 38
Address: Cincinnati
Education: Juris Doctor-Yale Law School; Bachelor's degree-The Ohio State University
Family: Wife, 3 children
Current Employment:Co-Founder of Narya venture capital firm in Cincinnati
Political Experience:None
Political Party:Republican

Illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States, said Vance.

He wants a wall to be built along the entire Mexican border and drug cartels declared terrorist organizations.

“It allows our military to go to Mexico to go to our southern border to actually do battle with them,” Vance said during the Republican primary debate held at Central State University in March.

Vance accuses Biden of having an “open border” policy.

“I think Tim Ryan has supported Joe Biden’s open border,” Vance said. “I would fight against it and make sure we can finish the wall and empower our border patrol agents to actually control that southern border.”

Legal immigrants should only be allowed in “if they contribute something meaningful to our country,” according to his campaign website.

Vance also calls for an end to abortion.

“The historic Dobbs decision puts this new era of society into motion, one that prioritizes family and the sanctity of all life,” Vance said on the website.

Asked if he supports any exceptions in an abortion ban, Vance’s campaign provided comments he gave to the Columbus Dispatch in September saying abortion should be prohibited after 15 weeks except to save the life of the mother.

Vance blames the Biden Administration’s spending and energy policies for inflation.

“I think the fact that Joe Biden and Tim Ryan have spent so much money means that we have an inflation crisis,” Vance said. “I think if we stop spending so much money and we open up American energy sources we can tame it.”

He’s also critical of companies outsourcing jobs to other countries and he wants to increase tariffs on imports, particularly from China.

“Part of the reason our supply chains are so brittle and overextended is we’ve become so reliant on foreign manufacturers,” said Vance.

He opposes some favorable corporate tax provisions impacting big companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, but supports the 2017 federal tax cuts and wants more tax cuts for Ohio businesses.

“When you reduce the amount that they’re paying in taxes you actually, I think, create jobs and create wealth for everybody,” Vance said.

He opposes forgiving federal student loans and wants colleges to be forced to reform their operations to cut tuition costs.

“I think it is fundamentally unfair to ask people who didn’t go to college to pay for the debts of people who did go to college,” Vance said.

Vance opposes gun reform, wants more energy drilling and pipelines and is against adding federal subsidies for child care and preschool.

He also wants the election system changed.

“I say it all the time: I think the election was stolen from Trump,” Vance said during the primary debate.

Multiple investigations, election audits and court rulings nationwide, along with Trump’s then-Attorney General William Barr, found no evidence of widespread fraud or election problems that would have changed the fact that Biden won the majority of the popular and electoral college votes.

Vance denounced changes in absentee voting practices some states adopted to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the social media outlets he said censored stories involving allegations against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and a laptop that surfaced shortly before the November 2020 election.

On his website Vance says, “we need to go back to having an election day in this country, not an election season” and called for more voter identification rules and “an end to mass mail-in voting.”

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