COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As Ohio’s two U.S. Senate candidates prepared to take the debate stage Monday evening, NBC4 Investigates dissected claims made in attack ads from Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan and Republican venture capitalist JD Vance to see how true those claims are.
In his ad, Vance asserts Ryan is a hardline, partisan voter. Ryan, in his campaign ad, portrays Vance as a supporter of U.S. trade deals with China.
Vance’s ad can be viewed here.
“D.C. Tim votes with Biden and Pelosi 100% of the time,” the ad claims.
According to FiveThirtyEight, which analyzes data from Congress, Ryan voted consistently with President Joe Biden’s position 100% of the time during the current Congress. ProPublica, another source that compares the voting records of two members of Congress, shows a perfect match with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for this Congress and the previous Congress. However, ProPublica’s data shows the two have voted differently in the past, including on the bi-partisan Budget Act of 2018.
Ryan’s campaign points out that he has spoken against the president’s agenda “publicly and repeatedly as well.” For example, he opposed the administration’s tariff exemption for solar panels from southeast Asia.
Ryan’s ad can be viewed here.
The ad includes soundbites clipped from a 2017 interview with Vance, conducted by David Axelrod, a former advisor to President Barack Obama.
“It’s not bad trade deals,” Vance is heard saying in the ad. “It’s not this terrible trade deal with China.”
Those clips were part of a longer answer to a question about American jobs being lost to overseas trade deals. In his answer, Vance seems to suggest that U.S. trade deals with China are not the only thing causing job losses. He also blames technology and automation, as well as cheaper goods being manufactured overseas.
You can listen to the full answer here, at around the 6:15 mark.
The Ryan campaign uses Vance’s remarks to go after his business record.
“He made millions while investing in companies that outsourced jobs to China,” the ad says.
According to Vance’s most recent financial disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the candidate has invested in dozens of companies, many of them U.S.-based tech startups.
The disclosure also shows Vance invested between $50,001 and $100,000 in Walmart, which, according to the Economic Policy Institute, has displaced hundreds of thousands of American jobs by importing Chinese-made goods. Vance reported dividends between $1,000 and $2,500 from the Walmart stock.
Regarding Vance’s other investments, researchers at the Economic Policy Institute told NBC4, “It is very difficult to track investments in firms that aren’t publicly traded like what Vance has done in his business career.”
“Unlike Tim Ryan, JD supports President Trump’s America first trade policies,” said a spokesperson for the Vance campaign. “JD firmly opposes companies offshoring jobs to China and has suggested policymakers raise taxes on these companies. JD also has a long record of speaking out against politicians in both parties who have advanced destructive trade deals. JD is proud his business investments are supporting hundreds of great jobs in Ohio.”