More Bad Headlines Continue to Highlight Ugliness of GOP #OHSen Primary
March 30, 2022
Columbus, OH — Two new reports in Cleveland.com and The Hill are the latest to highlight just how ugly the GOP U.S. Senate primary has become. The race has become so nasty that the tenor of the race became its own debate question on Monday.
Read the reports below:
March 28, 2022
- Given a chance to address the ugly tenor of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, the candidates on Monday offered little reflection on the state of the race.
- Toward the end of Monday’s debate organized by the Ohio Debate Commission at Central State University in Wilberforce, moderator Karen Kasler of the Statehouse News Bureau asked the seven candidates on stage — Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken, Chagrin Falls state Sen. Matt Dolan, author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance, former Treasurer Josh Mandel, Columbus-area businessman Mark Pukita and Delaware County businessman Neil Patel — if the ugly state of the race was appropriate for the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.
- The answer, generally, from the candidates? That’s politics.
- “I think some of the accusations have been kind of ridiculous,” said Vance, who has been targeted for his deep history of criticizing Trump, including saying he would consider voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
- The Republican Senate contest has largely been defined by the candidates trying to outdo one another via controversial statements, with policy mostly taking a backseat in their everyday campaigning. Instead, they’ve focused on convincing voters they are the candidate most closely aligned with former President Donald Trump, who has not endorsed in the race.
- That includes some circus-level antics, such as a debate two weeks ago that devolved into chest-bumping and epithets thrown on stage by Gibbons and Mandel.
March 29, 2022
- Republican frustrations are growing as multiple GOP Senate primaries have descended into infighting, threatening the party’s chances of retaking the upper chamber in November.
- In recent weeks, Senate primaries in Missouri and Ohio have turned volatile.
- Meanwhile, in Ohio, a candidate forum nearly came to blows when former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and businessman Mike Gibbons got into each other’s faces over work experience.
- The turbulence has raised concerns that the winners of these primaries could come out bruised, giving Democrats an advantage in the general election.
- “Who knows what the shitshow this week will be,” said one Ohio-based Republican strategist, referring to the state’s Senate primary.
- The fallout in that race comes after Gibbons accused Mandel of “never having worked in the private sector.” That led Mandel to walk over to a standing Gibbons and shout in his face: “Two tours in Iraq, don’t tell me I haven’t worked!”
- Over the weekend, Mandel released an ad featuring a Gold Star mother, whose son was killed in Iraq, criticizing Gibbons.
- Meanwhile, former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken has accused Gibbons of sexism, citing comments in which he said she had “barely worked” before she became chair of the Stark County Republican Party.
- “Friday and Monday night’s antics, the only person who really won was Tim Ryan,” Timken told reporters, referring to the Democratic congressman running for Senate. “What happens if Mike Gibbons is the nominee? The Democrats will gladly pour 50 million dollars into the race to defeat him and he has given them much fodder.”
- The Gibbons campaign hit back in a statement to The Hill, suggesting that Gibbons was being attacked because of his lead in the polls.
- Regardless, Democrats say the contentious primaries are playing into their hands, providing a contrasting image going into the general election.
- “What we have is Democratic candidates and incumbents who are talking to voters about lowering costs, about the issues that voters care about, while the Republican side is having this slug fest,” one Democratic strategist told The Hill. “The longer this infighting happens, the more bruised their candidates will be on the other side.”