YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WDTN) – Candidates in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race faced-off for the first time Friday in a heated debate over jobs.
GOP incumbent Rob Portman and former Ohio governor democrat Ted Strickland each made their case against the other, with Strickland going after Portman for supporting certain trade deals and Portman criticizing Strickland’s record as Governor.
Portman claimed that while Strickland was governor, Ohio lost more than 300,000 jobs, ranking as one of the lowest states in job creation. But Strickland fired back, claiming Ohio had the fastest-growing economy by the time he left office.
Portman–who has withdrawn his support for Trump–faced criticism from Strickland for not acting sooner, saying Portman’s guilty of quote “cowardice.”
Since the beginning of the race, Portman has led in both the polls and in funding. The latest poll from NBC News gives Portman at an 18 point lead ahead of Strickland.
“He doesn’t want to talk about his record,” Portman said. “I don’t blame him. If I had his record, I wouldn’t want to talk about it either. 350-thousand jobs lost when we was governor. 48th in the country in job creation. 47 other governors figured it out when he couldn’t.”
“There was a recommendation from the International Trade Organization that action be taken against China for manipulating their currency,” Strickland said. “He said that would be counter-productive. He was in a position to really make a difference for the people of Ohio, but he always sided with the rich and the powerful.”
Both candidates will face-off again in Columbus on Monday and then for the last time in Cleveland on October 20th.