4 issue takeaways from second Ryan-Vance Senate debate

On Monday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican candidate J.D. Vance faced off for a second debate for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat, hosted by Youngstown’s WFMJ-TV.

ExploreRyan, Vance at odds on abortion, Jan 6 in Ohio Senate debate

According to the Associated Press, both candidates sought to defuse implications that they were each lapdogs of their own political parties as the questions touched on topics like the U.S.-Mexico border, abortion rights, police accountability, and the Jan. 6 investigation.

The U.S.-Mexico border

During the debate, J.D. Vance frequently referred to the U.S. border with Mexico, the AP reported. “You have got to close the border. You’ve got to finish the wall and you’ve got to make it so that these drug cartels are not able o use the U.S. southern border as a drug trafficking center,” he said.

Ryan struck a more middling posture, saying that he has disagreed with President Joe Biden on relaxing certain border regulations and that he started the Border Technology Caucus to look at technology to keep the boundary secure.

Abortion rights

The two candidates disagreed more sharply on abortion rights, the AP said.

Ryan said that he would vote to codify abortion rights previously protected under Roe v. Wade, which generally protects abortion up until viability. He said he found a proposed law by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham that would ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks extreme, calling abortion restrictions the “Largest governmental overreach in the history of our lifetime” and Vance “not a guy who’s ready to protect the rights of women.”

Vance, meanwhile, said he would vote in favor of Graham’s proposed ban, but believed in certain exceptions, citing the 10-year-old Ohio girl who had been raped and had to travel to Indiana to receive an abortion. Vance didn’t say whether he supported an exception for rape, instead implied the girl’s case would probably fall under an exception to protect the life of the mother. He said the issue is too complex to name all the exceptions he might support during the debate.

Police accountability

Speaking about police accountability, Vance said he believes the systems in place to root out bad cops are adequate and criticized Ryan for supporting an effort to strip police of qualified immunity, saying it “is why we have the violent crime on our streets right now.” He also touted his endorsement by the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, the AP said.

Ryan said Vance’s statement on police accountability wasn’t in line with his failure to take seriously the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, where Capitol Police officers were injured and died.

The Jan. 6 investigation

On the topic of the Jan. 6 attack, Vance dismissed the investigation into the mob storming the Capitol building as “a political hit job” against former president Trump, and accused Ryan, the Democratic Part and the media of being obsessed with the issue.

Ryan responded, “If a group of people storm the Capitol while we’re trying to file the paperwork for an election, and they’re trying to prevent that from happening and they want to kill the vice president, like, that needs to be looked into. I don’t want to talk about this any more than anybody else. ... But, my God, you’ve got to look into it, J.D.”

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