Democrat and Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls square off in Voters First 2022 debates: Analysis

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The field to replace retiring United States Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) is a crowded one.  Seven Republicans and three Democrats are seeking to win over voters.  Voters will whittle the field down to one candidate for each party in the May primary. The race is predicted to be one of the most expensive in history. It will also be one of the most closely watched.

The non-partisan Ohio Debate Commission-of which Ideastream Public Media is a part—held debates for the candidates yesterday at Central State University in Wilberforce.  The two debates—one in the morning and one in the evening—drew questions from Ohio voters.

The Democrats running for Portman’s U.S. Senate seat: Morgan Harper, Traci “TJ” Johnson, and Congressman Tim Ryan debated Monday in a forum moderated by Curtis Jackson from Spectrum News.  The debates focused on topics including Ukraine, gun control, the economy, student loan debt, and the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Republicans vying for the seat held by Portman are: State Senator Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Neil Patel, Mark Pukita, Jane Timken, and JD Vance. Ohio Statehouse News Bureau Chief Karen Kasler moderated the Monday evening debate. The candidates covered topics including the U.S. response to the invasion of Ukraine, the economy, former President Donald Trump's claims the 2020 election was in his words "stolen" and immigration and border security.

We will discuss the debates and how the candidates fared with our panel of experts and input from listeners.

On Wednesday’s show we will discuss the Ohio Gubernatorial primary debate between Nan Whaley and John Cranley.  The Ohio Debate Commission will hold this debate on Tuesday night at 7 at Central State University.  The debate will be moderated by Lucy May, Host, Cincinnati Edition, WVXU.

The commission canceled the planned debate featuring the Republican candidates for governor after Governor Mike DeWine declined the invitation as did one of the challengers, Jim Renacci.

You can find replays of the Voters First: 2022 Ohio Debates for United States Senate here.


Tom Sutton, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Baldwin Wallace University  
Matt Cox, Founder & President, Capitol Partners  
Ifeolu Claytor, Treasurer,  Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats 
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

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