JD Vance Flip-Flops on Debates, Blows Off Organizers and Misses Key Deadline

After nearly a month of stalled negotiations over debates, JD Vance’s U.S. Senate campaign continues to refuse to come to the table — ghosting debate organizers and manufacturing scheduling conflicts as he attempts to run out the clock rather than commit to the public debates that an overwhelming majority of Ohio voters support.

In August, Tim Ryan was the first candidate to publicly commit to three debates, spanning from the Mahoning Valley to the Miami Valley, so that Ohioans statewide could hear firsthand from the candidates. Here’s where negotiations over those debates stand:

  • One hosted by WFMJ-TV, at Youngstown’s historic Stambaugh Auditorium, on September 26, 2022: Less than a week out, Vance has yet to respond to debate organizers after repeated attempts to get in touch.
  • One hosted by WLWT News 5, at Parrish Auditorium on Miami University’s Hamilton Campus, on October 4, 2022: After initially committing to the October 4th date, Vance has tried to double-book a second debate in Cleveland on the same date to conflict with this event.
  • And one hosted by the Ohio Debate Commission, at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, on October 12, 2022: Vance blew through yesterday’s deadline to accept this statewide debate, after participating in the ODC’s primary debate this spring. 

All of this amounts to yet another about-face for Vance, who in his primary made a point of accepting “every major debate” while skewering his opponents for their preference toward “staged events or closed round tables” — which Vance now shares, on the rare occasion when he can even be found in Ohio.

“Tim Ryan remains as eager as ever to debate JD Vance, but in order for that to happen, JD needs to stop hiding from debate organizers and trying to back out of forums both candidates have already committed to,” said Tim for Ohio campaign manager Dave Chase. “All we want is JD and his team to stop playing games and have the courtesy to respond to these reputable news outlets attempting to give Ohio voters the fair debate they deserve. But by trying endlessly to cherrypick debate hosts — in what can only be a desperate attempt to avoid scrutiny for his extreme views on abortion or his nonprofit that brought a Big Pharma mouthpiece to Ohio rather than help fix the opioid epidemic — JD’s endless foot-dragging and game-playing may mean Ohioans get no Senate debate at all.”