The first question asked of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Rep. Jim Renacci in Friday night’s third debate between the two U.S. Senate candidates was about the divisiveness of the country.
Brown called on Renacci to encourage President Donald Trump to lead the country in healing.
“I don’t blame the president entirely on this, of course,” Brown said. “But I do think the divisive rhetoric hurts us as a country. I hopeful we could be more unified.”
The hour-long live debate before a crowd of nearly 700 at Hall Auditorium on the campus of Miami University in Oxford went as the other debates with Brown being critical about Renacci and the Republican-controlled House and Senate on cuts to entitlements like Medicare, and voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act which includes forcing health insurances to cover pre-existing conditions.
Renacci said he wants to see more bipartisan efforts in Congress, which he said one of the first things he did when he was first elected in 2010.“When it comes from both sides, it’s truly an issue. We can’t have this in politics,” Renacci said.
“When I first came to Washington … I came here to get something done. In that first week (after being elected), I formed what I called a bipartisan working group.”Renacci said that group fosters “civility and getting things accomplished” and claimed the group pushed 15 bills through the House and Senate.
But not much civility was found in Friday night’s debate, which was less than a week after Brown and Renacci attacked each other in their second debate.
Even when asked to say something nice, they struggled..Brown said he worked with Renacci about honoring Larry Doby, the first African-American to play for the Cleveland Indians in the American League.
Renacci said also appreciated Brown working with him on that bill, but said it would be nice for him to get it passed in the Senate.
Renacci was consistently critical of Brown for being a Washington insider and “doesn’t represent Ohio values,” and continued his personal attacks on a decades-old domestic abuse allegations.
Many of Renacci’s answers included Brown’s tenure in Washington, D.C., which included seven terms in the U.S. House and two terms in the U.S. Senate, and repeatedly said Brown put “Washington first.”
Brown was critical of Renacci’s voting record, in particular voting against the Affordable Care Act which covers pre-existing conditions.
Healthcare is the biggest issue among voters, according to polling. More than 70 percent of Americans say health care is a “very important” issue when voting who to send to Washington, D.C., according to the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll.
And nearly a third of Americans said the “most important” issue is healthcare.Both candidates say they support coverage of pre-existing conditions but Brown said Renacci voted “at least 20 times” to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has a provision that force health insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.
But Renacci rebukes the claims he’s against helping the 5 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions.
“There is no one in Washington that wants to take away pre-existing conditions,” he said.
Congress has voted dozens of times to repeal the ACA, commonly referenced as Obamacare, but all attempts have failed.The two were on opposite sides of every issue brought up, which comes as no surprise.
Brown is considered one of the most liberal Senators in the upper chamber and Renacci is a Trump Republican.
Topics covered Medicare, immigration, tax policy and tariffs.
And when Renacci again brought up the domestic abuse allegations between Brown and his ex-wife, Larke Recchie — the Wadsworth congressman has attacked Brown on that in commercials and addressed in the first two debates — Brown grew angry.
He said he and his ex-wife had asked to Renacci to stop the attack ads, and “Congressman Renacci you should be ashamed of yourself.”
This news outlet reported earlier this year that Recchie supported Brown in his 2006 and 2012 Senate campaigns, and she and her second husband have held fundraisers for this re-election bid.
Renacci once again called for Brown’s resignation — a call he said Brown made toward other officeholders accused of abuse.“I have said this time and time again, he does not get grandfathered in for his history.
He has asked others to step down, he should be stepping down, too,” said Renacci.
According to the Suffolk University poll, Brown leads Renacci, but Renacci said after the debate he’s not concerned with the polling.
“In the end the only poll that matters is Nov. 6. This race is tightening up, our internal polls show it’s tightening up,” he said.
Early voting continues in Ohio by mail and at the county boards of elections. Election Day is Nov. 6.
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