Ohio's 7 Republican Senate hopefuls face off in debate at Central State University

Posted at 3:31 PM, Mar 28, 2022

WILBERFORCE, Ohio — The Ohio Debate Commission hosted a debate between the Republican primary candidates for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat at 7 p.m. Monday.

Before the debate, News 5 political correspondent John Kosich and anchor Rob Powers discussed the debate and answered your questions live on Facebook. Watch below:

You can watch the debate in the player below:

On a crowded stage including for the first time all seven Republicans on the May 3 primary ballot, the hopefuls for U.S. Senate looked to position themselves as the bearer of America's first flag.


"I'm a mom on a mission ready to take our country back to fight for American jobs, border security and parents' rights in education," said candidate Jane Timken.

The hopefuls were asked again about whether the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump.

"I want to say it very clearly for all of the RINOs out there and all of the media elites out there the 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump," candidate Josh Mandel said.

Many answers were geared towards appealing to the former president, who has yet to endorse in the race.

"There are people up on this stage who are literally fighting for one vote and that person doesn't even vote in Ohio. My responsibility is to be the Senator from Ohio for Ohio," candidate Matt Dolan said.

Appearing for the first time in this setting were two Columbus area businessmen, Neil Patel and Mark Pukita.

"As a small businessman I've created over a thousand jobs and I'm a common man with common sense working with everybody," Patel said.

"Our Rob Portman was unwilling to sign for the state of emergency declaration to fund that wall so that's why I want to go replace Rob Portman because he's doing a poor job for Ohioans," Pukita said.

The debate was civil in tone, with no face-to-face showdowns like we saw two weeks ago or in the attack ads on TV. Mike Gibbons who has led in some polls argued what brought some of the attacks against him was fear of change.

"I believe 2022 is going to be one of the most important elections in our lifetime and I don't believe that we can entrust our nation's future to career politicians, party insiders or people who put their finger in the air when they want to find out what they're going to say next," candidate Gibbons said.

The panel was asked about Senator Rick Scott's "Plan to Rescue America." JD Vance says he doesn't like everything in it but it's something Republicans need to be doing - putting ideas forward.

"There are a lot of problems out there a lot of very serious problems and we can't just sort of stick our flag in the mud and say we're against, we're against, we're against. We got to be for stuff," Vance said.

The debate, the second of three this week, was held at Central State University in Wilberforce.

The debate was moderated by Karen Kasler, the Bureau Chief of Statehouse News Bureau.

Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates will partake in the final debate on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Earlier on Monday, the Democratic U.S. Senate Primary candidates debated.

RELATED: Watch a replay of the U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Debate