Two Ohio U.S. Senate candidates jump primaries and set a debate
A Trump-aligned Republican and an underdog progressive Democrat are taking an unusually early step in their campaigns for the U.S. Senate: They’re holding a debate.
The odd match-up between Josh Mandel, a former GOP state treasurer and lawmaker, and Democrat Morgan Harper, a former consumer protection lawyer and congressional candidate, is being held at the North Columbus Baptist Church on Snouffer Road.
It comes before either party’s competitive primary has been decided, so it’s unclear what purpose the event may serve beyond a bit of publicity. But the candidates said in an unconventional joint press release that they want the event to be about ideas, and informing voters.
Mandel is competing in a crowded Republican primary against former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, state Senator Matt Dolan and Cleveland businessmen Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons.
On the Democratic side, Harper is running against U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13).
They are seeking to replace the retiring Rob Portman, who announced last year he was not seeking reelection.