Vance Ghosts a Second Debate Organizer as He Continues to Hide From Ohioans

New reporting from Ohio Capital Journal’s Jake Zuckerman confirms that after a month of stalled debate negotiations, JD Vance continues to play games with debate organizers in an attempt to blow off reputable media organizations and cherrypick hosts. 

Vance bragged about participating in “every public debate” during the primary and a new poll shows a stunning 84 percent of Ohioans want to see their Senate candidates debate. But after Tim was the first candidate to commit to debates in August, Vance is now reversing his stance — refusing to give Youngstown debate organizers the courtesy of a response, manufacturing scheduling conflicts to get out of fair debates with reputable hosts, and hiding from reporters rather than explain why he doesn’t want to take the debate stage opposite Tim. (Although it may have something to do with the questions dogging his candidacy about why he brought a Big Pharma apologist to the epicenter of Ohio’s opioid epidemic or why he supports a national abortion ban that would force victims of rape and incest to have their abuser’s baby). 

​​“San Francisco fraud JD Vance has said that he feels ‘out of place’ in Ohio and has spent the last few months figuring out ways to spend as little time as possible in the state,” said Tim for Ohio spokesperson Izzi Levy. “I guess he’s been way too busy hanging out with his out-of-state allies and millionaire buddies in places like Washington, Nantucket, and Miami to bother responding to debate organizers in Youngstown.”

Read more about JD Vance’s about-face from the Ohio Capital Journal

  • Republicans running for the U.S. senate and governor’s office in Ohio declined to face their opponents in a debate, organizers announced Wednesday.
  • Both incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine and U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance will not appear at the planned October forums hosted by the Ohio Debate Commission, an independent outfit with ties to media around the state.
  • In both races, the Democratic candidates have lambasted their rivals’ apparent unwillingness to debate in public — without the filter of political handlers or media outlets. Both have emphasized a recent USA TODAY Network Ohio/Suffolk University poll indicating 84% of Ohioans want to see their candidates debate.
  • Ryan publicly agreed to and challenged Vance to three debates hosted by the ODC, Youngstown area news station WFMJ-TV, and Cincinnati news station WLWT.
  • Meanwhile, WFMJ invited both Senate candidates to debate in July. Ryan agreed. Vance has not.
  • “We have no feedback or answer from the Vance campaign as to whether they are or are not interested,” said news director Mona Alexander. The Vance campaign declined to comment on the WFMJ matter.
  • Ryan publicly announced he’d participate in the WLWT debate on Oct. 4. Vance, days later, said he’d participate in the WLWT debate at a date still to be determined. However, he agreed to participate in a debate hosted by Nexstar, which owns several TV news stations around Ohio, also scheduled for Oct. 4.
  • Ryan’s campaign said he won’t do the Nexstar debate because he already committed to the WLWT event. In a statement, he accused Vance of trying to “double-book” himself as an excuse. Vance declined to comment on the WLWT event.
  • Jeff Benscoter, news director for WLWT, said in an email that both campaigns have “formally agreed to debate on WLWT” but they’re still finalizing a date.
  • Ryan’s campaign, in a statement, criticized Vance, noting he participated in an ODC debate in the Republican primary. “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 Ryan’s campaign manager Dave Chase in a statement. “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.”