Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, a Democrat, and J.D. Vance, a Republican, are headed on Monday into their final debate within the state’s marquee Senate race as they compete for the seat of Senator Rob Portman, who’s retiring.
The race, in a state that former President Donald J. Trump comfortably won twice, has remained more competitive than national observers initially expected as Mr. Ryan, a strong fund-raiser, casts himself as an independent voice. Still, he confronts an uphill climb, without much assistance up to now from national Democrats.
Throughout the competition, the 2 men have disagreed over the economy, China, ties to distinguished figures in each of their parties — Mr. Ryan has made clear he doesn’t want President Biden to run again — and real connections to Ohio. Of their first debate, they clashed over who could claim the title of working-class champion.
Mr. Vance, the creator of the book “Hillbilly Elegy,” once identified as a “Never Trump guy” but went on to the nomination with Mr. Trump’s endorsement. He grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and later worked as a enterprise capitalist in San Francisco. Mr. Ryan, who represents the Youngstown area in Congress, has repeatedly sought to brand him as out of touch.
For his part, Mr. Vance is looking for to forged Mr. Ryan as a failed politician who didn’t deliver enough for his community.
Mr. Vance has come under scrutiny over a canceled fund-raiser hosted by an Ohio pain doctor named in a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and others concerning opioid prescriptions within the state, which has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, Spectrum News reported, a problem more likely to come up on Monday. The doctor has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing, the report said. This month, The Recent York Times reported that Mr. Vance began a nonprofit group to tackle social problems, including opioids and joblessness, but that it fell apart inside two years.
An Associated Press report also found that Mr. Ryan had received $27,000 in donations since 2007 from drug distributors closely linked to the opioid crisis.
The controversy, hosted by 21 WFMJ, begins at 7 p.m. Eastern time. It’ll be livestreamed at WFMJ.com. Our reporters will offer live updates and evaluation.