Dolan is only Republican running for U.S. Senate who says the 2020 election was not stolen from Trump

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Five Republican candidates for U.S. Senate said the 2020 presidential election was stolen and a sixth said there was fraud when asked during a debate in Greene County on Monday night.

“The 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump,” former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel of Beachwood said at the debate held at Central State University and sponsored by the Ohio Debate Commission.

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, businessman Neil Patel of Westerville, businessman Mark Pukita of Dublin and author and businessman J.D. Vance of Cincinnati also all said the election was stolen.

“Five million more people voted than were registered vote,” said Gibbons. “There’s a problem. We need to investigate it. The Jan. 6 commission should be investigating that instead of some false accusation of some kind of insurrection.”

Former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken of Canton did not directly respond to the question about whether the election was stolen but said, “There’s no doubt in my mind there were irregularities and fraud in the 2020 election.”

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

She said as party chair she recruited 300 Republican attorneys and poll observers to “watch what Democrats were doing” during the election and “that’s how I delivered Ohio for President Trump.”

Biden bested Trump by more than 7 million votes nationally, won the Electoral College vote and his win was certified by Congress hours after the violent assault on Congress and the police defending it by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021. Multiple investigations, audits and court decisions found no evidence that Joe Biden was not legitimately elected president.

Debate moderator Karen Kasler, bureau chief of the Statehouse News Bureau, repeatedly said statements made by the six candidates, including Gibbons’ contention that voter turnout exceeded the number of registered voters, had been fact-checked and repeatedly debunked.

State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, was the only one of the seven who does not believe the election was stolen.

“Joe Biden is the legitimate president of the United States,” Dolan said “My problem is that he is a failed president.”

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Dolan said his opponents claim they support the U.S. Constitution, but their desire to overturn a legitimate election is in direct violation of the Constitution.

“I don’t think questioning and trying to find a legal way of overturning the election is in any way treasonous or even slightly illegal,” Gibbons said.

The debate at the university’s Paul Robeson Cultural and Performing Arts Center in Wilberforce was broadcast live from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can watch the debate here:

The candidates repeatedly criticized Biden and the Democrats and talked about the country being on the wrong path.

“The Democrats are threatening the future of our country,” Timken said.

“The radical left, the secular left, they are trying to destroy America,” Mandel said. “And right now what we need in Washington to defeat the secular left, to defeat the radical left, to defeat Biden and (U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck) Schumer and (U.S. House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi and save this country for our kids and grandkids is fighters.”

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

The candidates also said they want to put a stop to illegal immigration and build a border wall. Vance said it needs to span the entire Mexican border to keep out drugs and people because immigration is devastating the country and the public health system.

“Once they step on our soil, they are entitled to due process. We have to change the law,” Gibbons said.

Patel said illegal immigrants shouldn’t be given financial assistance.

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

The candidates said they oppose putting U.S. troops in Ukraine, but supported humanitarian assistance.

“We are being lied to by everyone about Ukraine, including the media. (Vladimir) Putin’s lying to us. (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy’s lying to us. The UN’s lying to us, the government’s lying to us. Our intelligence community is lying to us. And the media is lying the most,” said Pukita.

He did not elaborate on what those alleged lies are, but said, “Europe needs to stand up and take care of itself,” and U.S. troops should be moved from Europe to be closer to China.

“China is our biggest enemy. It’s not Russia,” Pukita said.

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Ohio Debate Com

Vance said the U.S. should take care of its own problems, and he criticized Congress for funding help for Ukraine but not a border wall.

“We should not being doing a no-fly zone. We should not be involved with Russia at all. It’s not our problem,” Vance said.

Some candidates addressed what they see as an erosion of religious values in the U.S.

“Our nation, our republic, was founded on a bedrock of Judeo-Christian values, not Muslim, not atheism, but Judeo-Christian values,” Mandel said. “We should be instilling faith in the classroom, in the workplace, in everywhere in society.”

The candidates are vying for the endorsement of Trump, and Dolan said he may be the one to get it because he has a proven record of accomplishing conservative goals during his time in the Ohio Senate by cutting taxes and regulations.

A spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party contends the GOP candidates are not addressing the real needs of Ohioans.

“All of the out-of-touch millionaires embarrassed themselves tonight as they injected more nasty attacks into their chaotic and out-of-control primary,” said Michael Beyer, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The seven Republicans and three Democrats are running to replace U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who announced he would not seek a third term.

The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are: attorney Morgan Harper of Columbus; businesswoman Traci “TJ” Johnson of Hilliard; and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland Twp. in Trumbull County.

They debated Monday and you can watch the Democrats’ debate here:

Tonight the two Democratic Party candidates for governor, former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, will face off from 7 to 8 p.m. at Central State.

Lucy May, host of Cincinnati Edition on WVXU-91.7, will moderate.

The Republican gubernatorial debate was canceled after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declined to participate. The other Republican candidates for governor are Joe Blystone, Ron Hood and former U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.

You can watch Whaley and Cranley debate here:

The Ohio Debate Commission is a collaboration of media outlets, civic organizations and universities in Ohio. Its mission is to produce “fair and substantive debates that encourage participation in our democracy,” according to the commission.

“We’ve been planning since mid-2021 for these debates and Central State is ready to play its role in providing meaningful information to voters,” said Dr. Zillah Fluker, vice president of CSU’s division of institutional advancement.

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