J.D. Vance Dominates Straw Poll After Contentious Ohio Debate

J.D. Vance, the venture capitalist and author of "Hillbilly Elegy," addresses a rally Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Middletown, Ohio, where he announced he is joining the crowded Republican race for the Ohio U.S. Senate seat being left by Rob Portman. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
AP Photo/Jeff Dean

J.D. Vance dominated in the straw poll — holding over a 20-point lead — with attendees of Ohio’s Republican Senate primary forum, where two other candidates met in a heated face-to-face altercation.

The poll, conducted by FreedomWorks, the forum host, found that of the nearly 400 people, 43.1 percent wanted Vance over any other candidate.

Vance held over a 20-point lead on the next closest Republican candidate, Jane Timken, who garnered only 20.7 percent. In the middle of the field, Mike Gibbons — who was one of the candidates caught in the altercation — had 16.1 percent, and Matt Dolan won 12.3 percent of the votes.

Josh Mandel — the other candidate in the altercation — got 4.6 percent of the straw poll, and 3.3 percent of attendees picked “other.”

During one part of the forum, Gibbons and Mandel were in a face-to-face altercation after Mandel accused the other of making millions of dollars off Chinese petroleum stock.

After a few minutes of the two’s exchange, Gibbons denied making money from Chinese petroleum stock and claimed Mandel has not worked in the private sector. Mandel responded by referencing his military service, “I’ve worked. Two tours in Iraq, don’t tell me I haven’t worked.”

Vance, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Iraq War, called out Mandel’s “disgraceful” emphasis on his military service during his next allotted speaking time.

“Before I answer that question, I just gotta comment on what we just saw. Look, as the only other person who served his country in uniform, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps,” Vance said. “My ma-maw had six grandchildren. Three of them enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I think the way you use the U.S. Marine Corps, Josh, is disgraceful.”

“Think about what we just saw. This guy wants to be a U.S. senator, he’s up here, ‘Hold me back, hold me back, I got two tours in the Marine Corps.’ What a joke. Answer the question. Stop playing around,” Vance continued.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.

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