FACT CHECK: Four Claims From The October 10 Ohio Senate Debate
Democratic Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan and Ohio Republican Senate candidate JD Vance met in Cleveland Monday night for the first of two senatorial debates. The debate saw the two clash about a variety of hot-button issues while also including each other’s professional lives.
Here are four claims from the Senate debate:
Claim 1: “[Ryan] said he supported Ohio’s natural gas industry and always done so. When he ran for president, just two years ago, you supported banning fracking both on public lands and generally speaking,” said Vance.
Ryan previously said he wanted to “go all in on natural gas,” according to The Blade. In 2017, he voted for an amendment to ban drilling and fracking in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf in 2017. His voting record, according to VoteSmart, suggests he had voted down the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and voted against other natural gas and crude oil bills.
In 2020, when Ryan ran for president, he said he’d limit fracking or regulate it to make it better, according to The Washington Post. He told the outlet at the time that natural gas exploration had provided “enormous economic benefits” and provided energy independence.
Ryan also appeared at a climate and agriculture forum alongside former Democratic Maryland Rep. John Delaney during the campaign where he said he would “absolutely” consider banning fracking on public lands in response to a question.
Claim 2: “You know what I haven’t done? I didn’t start a fake non-profit pretending I was going to help people with addiction like JD Vance did,” said Ryan.
Vance’s first non-profit, Our Ohio Renewal, faltered and was shuttered in 2021 despite raising over $220,000 in its first year, according to The New York Times. Insider reported the non-profit organization spent more on “management services” from Jai Chabria, its executive director, than it did on programs that dealt with opioid abuse.
The non-profit organization also spent $45,000 on a survey about the “social, cultural and general welfare needs of Ohio citizens,” according to The New York Times.
The charity also enlisted a doctor, Sally Setal, who was sent to a residency in the Appalachian region of Ohio that had ties to Purdue Pharma, according to the Associated Press.
“While the group only ended up lasting for a short period of time, I’m proud of the work we did,” Vance said in a statement to The New York Times.
Claim 3: “You voted with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden 100%,” said Vance.
Voting data from FiveThirtyEight indicates Ryan voted with Biden 100 percent of the time between January 2021 and September 2022. Ryan supported Biden’s position on a variety of issues, including providing money for anti-violence programs, protecting access to contraceptives, and expanding firearm regulations, according to the same data.
In addition, a comparison of 2021-2022 voting records from ProPublica shows Ryan and Pelosi have agreed on “100 percent of votes in the 117th Congress.”
A former critic of Pelosi, Ryan said the Democratic Party was “absolutely united” behind the California representative when she became the frontrunner for Speaker of the House in 2019, according to Politico. He had previously been speculated to challenge speaker position following the 2018 midterms, according to CNBC.
Claim 4: “Who runs around with Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida who wants to ban books? You’re running around with Lindsey Graham, who wants a national abortion ban. You’re running around with Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is the absolute loneliest politician in America,” Ryan said.
Vance and DeSantis campaigned together in August in Liberty, Ohio, according to WKBN. There, DeSantis spoke out against vaccine mandates and how Florida has banned critical race theory from its schools, the outlet reported.
While Check Your Fact could not find an instance where Vance and Graham campaigned together, Graham has proposed a 15 week national abortion ban, with exceptions on rape, incest and danger to the mother. Vance avoided questions from The Daily Beast when asked whether or not he supported Graham’s proposal, but stated during the debate a “minimum national standard is fine with [him],” according to NBC News.
Vance defended Greene in March 2022 after she appeared at a white nationalist conference, according to The Hill. He stated that she “did nothing wrong” and described Greene as a friend. Greene had endorsed Vance during the Republican primary, the outlet reported.
Greene and Vance were also pictured together at former President Donald Trump’s Sept. 17 in Youngstown, Ohio. The two were planning to host an event in January 2022 in Loveland, Ohio, before the event was booted from the Landing Event Center following major backlash, according to Cincinnati.com.
Elias Atienza and Christine Sellers contributed to this report.