CSU candidate forum turns into ‘slug fest’

WILBERFORCE — It started off quietly enough, but by the end of the day, the seven candidates running in Ohio’s 2022 Republican U.S. Senate primary had all been figuratively “thrown under the bus” in one way or another.

Hundreds of people gathered Monday night at Central State University’s Paul Robeson Cultural & Performing Arts Center for an evening of old-fashioned politics that showcased the pros and cons of each candidate.

Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio and TV (head of the Statehouse News Bureau) was the moderator, responsible for asking questions and vetting the contestants.

First on the list was JD Vance, known as a venture capitalist and author of the bestselling book “Hillbilly Elegy”. The candidate received a lot of heartache from his opponents for appearing to support former President Donald Trump when he publicly declared Trump an “idiot” and worse.

The former president has always publicly endorsed any of the candidates. The Middletown native hopes to become the Republican nominee to remove Senator Rob Portman’s seat in the May 3 primary election.

Mike Gibbons, who was born in Cleveland and grew up in a working-class suburb of Parma, was televised (last week) in a heated exchange after former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel accused the investment banker of “earning billions” by moving businesses from Ohio to China and holding Chinese oil stocks.

Gibbons denied the claims saying he personally did not buy the shares and told Mandel “maybe you don’t understand this because you’ve never been in the private sector in your whole life.” Mandel, who served in the Marine Corps Reserve before a political career, told Gibbons “two tours in Iraq, don’t tell me I didn’t work.”

Gibbons, who was endorsed by Rand Paul, strongly criticized President Biden’s “careless and lax attitude” regarding border patrols.

“Our president basically said ‘come one, come all. But once they step on our soil, they’re subject to due process,” said Gibbons, who raised $12.1 million, the most of any contender in the race, almost all but $750,000. from his own personal wealth.

Jane Timken, a lawyer and former chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party, recently launched a statewide ad calling for the firing of Anthony Fauci, who led the nation’s public health response to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19, and claims to have traveled 150,000 miles. his car to campaign through Ohio.

“I’m a mom on a mission to bring our country back,” she said, adding that her name is “Trump Tough.”

“I will put Ohio first – freedom, religion and freedom of speech,” Timken said. “As the next senator, I will fight for stronger borders, American jobs, and parents’ rights.”

Mandel said “our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values/ethics” and to be careful of “liberal media and the secular left. I am a fighter, I am not afraid to face Pelosi and Biden.”

Mandel said he believed the right to bear arms “comes from God, not from the government”.

State Senator Matt Dolan participated in last Friday’s Gahanna Candidates’ Forum, hosted by the right-wing advocacy group Freedom Works. He is a lawyer and co-owner of a baseball team (the Cleveland Guardians) which advocates for family values. He represents Ohio’s 24th Senate District which covers several outer suburbs of Cleveland in Cuyahoga County. He served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010.

Mark Pukita, an IT entrepreneur living in Dublin, apparently had a sarcastic response to every question posed to the panel. Pukita thinks endorsements “are ridiculous” but claims to have a 21-point endorsement program.

Neil Patel, a lawyer, conservative political adviser and publisher, was previously Vice President Dick Cheney’s top political adviser. After leaving the vice president’s office, Patel teamed up with Tucker Carlson to co-found The Daily Caller, a right-wing news and opinion site. Patel co-founded and is managing director of Bluebird Asset Management, a hedge fund focused on mortgage-backed securities.

The Republican primary winner from Ohio would be favored in November’s general election in a state that Trump won by eight points in 2020. Although the primary is set for May 3, it could be pushed back due to legislative redistricting of the Congress and the State. cards still disputed.

Jane Timken, Josh Mandel and Matt Dolan (far right) listen to Mark Pukita during Monday’s debate.

Mike Gibbons makes a point as JD Vance watches during Monday’s debate between Republican candidates for a U.S. Senate seat.

Contact Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.

Melvin B. Baillie