YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The man who wants to be Ohio’s next Republican U.S. senator wants to tie America’s problems with inflation to high gas prices and is placing at least some of the blame at the feet of his opponent.

“So it really goes back to energy, and we basically had a president — supported by Tim Ryan — who’s been at war effectively with the American energy industry,” said J.D. Vance.

Vance stopped by our studios on the same day a new poll was released showing him falling behind Ryan.

The survey, conducted last week by a firm known as “Center Street PAC,” has the Valley congressman getting 43 percent compared to Vance with 34 percent. Nearly a quarter of those responding to what other news sources are referring to an outlier poll were still undecided.

Other recent polls have shown a much tighter race, with at least one giving Vance the lead.

“We’ve got to get back to drilling, to exploring, to refining our own energy in this state because we got great resources, right? We could employ Ohioans to do it. It would also drive down costs for consumers,” Vance said.

Vance also called out his opponent, saying the government needs to do more to help communities hire police.

“I, unfortunately, think Tim Ryan has not been a good advocate of police. He’s very often encouraged the idea that police are racist or that we should defund the police,” Vance said.

Ironically, Ryan was in the area earlier this week supporting the construction of a second electric-generating plant in Lordstown.

Late this afternoon, Ryan’s campaign sent us a statement saying Vance is, quote, “lying about Tim Ryan’s record because after making a name for himself off the suffering of hardworking Ohioans, he still has no solutions to make people’s lives better and, in his own words, feels ‘out of place’ in Ohio.”