Ohio GOP Senate nominee JD Vance is taking aim at Tim Ryan, his Democratic challenger in the race, over his reversal on a number of issues that are important to Ohio voters, as well as recent comments from President Biden about “MAGA Republicans” that he said are “dividing” the country.
Speaking exclusively to Fox News Digital on Friday, Vance insisted that Ryan, who currently represents the state’s 13th Congressional District in the House, is a “far left guy” who is “running a campaign that’s almost impossible to run.”
“I feel like each time I get out of an event, Tim Ryan’s tune has changed. So it’s like flip-flop, flip-flopped in a matter of a few hours,” Vance said. On every issue, Vance says Ryan has tried to move away from positions he held years ago.
“He’s trying to persuade people that he’s a moderate — or even a conservative Democrat — when his voting record is that he’s a far left guy. He always bends the knee to Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.”
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On Thursday, during an interview with Youngstown’s WFMJ-TV, Ryan, who has served in Congress since 2003, suggested Biden should not run for president in 2024 and said his “hunch is that we need new leadership across the board, Democrats, Republicans.”
“I think it’s time for a generational move for new leaders on both sides. I think the environment politically across the country is poisonous and, you know, people, I think, want some change and I think it’s important for us in both parties,” Ryan said at the time, one day before he appeared alongside Biden in Ohio for a groundbreaking tour of a chips manufacturing plant.
Vance said Ryan is attempting to do a “tap dance” with voters as he shifts positions on a number of issues and said he wants his challenger to be “honest” about his feelings.
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“When you’re trying to do that, I don’t think you can quite figure out whether a bear hug Joe Biden or whether to try to push him off for political purposes,” Vance said.
Last month, Ryan broke from the majority of his party and claimed that Biden’s $500 billion student loan handout for millions of Americans at the taxpayers’ expense “sends the wrong message.” Despite his comments at the time, Ryan once championed the idea before he made a run for Senate, saying in 2021 that student loan handouts are “great for people who have those student loans and families who have those student loans, including mine.”
In response, Vance said he believed Ryan is “desperate to get elected” and that the student loan handouts are “fundamentally unfair.”
“You can’t ask people who didn’t go to college to pay for everybody who did go to college. It’s just ridiculous and Tim Ryan knows that it’s ridiculous,” Vance said. “He knows that it’s unpopular, but he also has to cozy up to the Democratic activists. So he supported these policies for a long time and that’s when he was cozying up to the Democratic Party activists. Now that he’s trying to get elected from people in the state of Ohio, he has to try to run away from his record of a few years ago.”
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Vance also took aim at Biden for his recent remarks regarding “MAGA Republicans” in America, saying the president has drifted from his campaign promise of uniting Americans.
At an event in Pennsylvania last week, Biden claimed that “the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.” The rhetoric was also used by the president at a rally late last month in Rockville, Maryland, when Biden accused Republicans of becoming the party of “semi-fascism” and took his message on the GOP a step further, claiming former President Trump and Republicans were a threat to not just “personal rights and economic security, they’re a threat to our very democracy.”
“It’s definitely dividing the country,” Vance said of Biden’s characterization of Trump supporters, criticizing the president for insulting voters rather than keeping his arguments focused on politicians.
“I’ve just never seen an American president — you know, of course [they] criticize their opponent, but — criticize their opponents’ voters in such personal ways,” Vance added.
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Discussing the most critical issues Ohio voters face, Vance said he believed the “inflation crisis egged on by Joe Biden and Tim Ryan’s energy policies is really at the top of the list.”
“You can’t have a real country if people can’t afford to buy food, they can’t afford to buy fuel, they can’t afford to heat their homes,” Vance said. “And we’re getting close to that point in Ohio where it’s going to go from hot to cold pretty quick here.”
Crime has also been a large focus of the Vance campaign, and he released an ad this week highlighting an increase in crime throughout Ohio.
Vance said he believes “a lot of people care a lot about the crime issue” and that they “care a lot about public safety.”
“I just wanted to sort of tie it back a little bit to why do we really care about public safety? It’s not just selfish. It’s not just because we want to be able to walk down the street in comfort. That’s, of course, important, but it’s because we care about everybody in the state of Ohio. We want them to live in safety and comfort. Whether they’re rich or poor, black or white, whatever their neighborhood is, we believe a fundamental right in this country is security and safety.”
“Because of the Democrats’ policies, because of what Tim Ryan has done, people have been denied that basic right,” he added. “I just want to remind people that, you know, it’s okay to care about law and order. It’s okay to care about the safety of our streets and the Democrats’ failure here is one of the reasons we have to send Tim Ryan packing.”
Vance said that the looting of small businesses has been “normalized” by some and insisted that it stems from Democratic messaging on police and law enforcement.
“The Democrats decided to declare war on America’s law enforcement. So, the police felt like they couldn’t do their job and that let the bad guys do whatever they want to do all across communities in the state of Ohio, but everywhere else as well,” Ryan said.
Trump is slated to speak in Ohio later this month at a rally to boost support for Republicans running in the state and Vance said he is looking forward to welcoming the president back as he continues to speak with voters about new possibilities for Ohioans.
“President Trump’s going to come and campaign for us. We’re happy that he’s doing it. I think it’s going to be a good time,” Vance said.
Vance will face off against Ryan in the November 8 Senate election in Ohio.