RAVENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – There was a debate Friday between four Republicans and a Libertarian hoping to challenge Tim Ryan for the 13th District congressional seat.
The debate began with criticisms of the incumbent Democrat.
“We had our president, Donald Trump, giving praise to our veterans and our heroes of our nation, and [Ryan] had the audacity to stand up and walk out,” Rob Santos said.
“Unfortunately, the manufacturing base of this state has declined,” Hagan said. “That’s unacceptable, and we can attribute that to a lack of leadership and a lack of representation in Congressman Tim Ryan.”
Issues were also discussed and the Republicans’ answers seemed to align with President Trump’s policies.
“The Affordable Care Act is a bunch of garbage,” Duane Hennen said. “It raised the cost across the board for about every person in America when it came to insurance.”
“America doesn’t owe the world citizenship. We don’t owe the world everything. They can work for it just like we did,” Donald Truex said.
All of the candidates were pro Second Amendment.
“There should be no reason that you can’t have a piece of metal in whatever form you want on your own property,” said Libertarian Michael Fricke.
They were also critical of fellow Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for wanting to eliminate some gun owner rights.
“Part of being a policymaker is being on the offense against bad policy, even put forth by your own party,” Hagan said.
“I am completely disappointed in DeWine and what he’s trying to do,” Santos said. “That, right now, is disrespectful. It’s unconstitutional.”
Ryan was also invited to take place in Friday’s debate but he declined. His campaign released the following statement:
“Rep. Tim Ryan knows which side he is on. As a lifelong Democrat, Ryan is committed to creating living wages jobs for families in the 13th District, protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors, expanding access to affordable health care and making northeast Ohio a destination business location for electric vehicles and batteries of the future. So just as President Trump hasn’t participated in the Democratic primary debates, Rep. Ryan appropriately is not participating in this Republican primary debate.”
Lou Lyras also decided not to come to the debate. A contender for the Republican nomination in the 13th District, Lyras declined to participate after Portage County Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Suffecool decided to personally endorse former state representative Christina Hagan.
“I truly believe that half the battle of anything is showing up and, as we can see, Mr. Lyras didn’t show up tonight,” Hagan said. “He didn’t have the interest to defend his values and his principles on this stage.”