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Tim Ryan on Democrats who refuse to debate ahead of midterms: ‘Have some guts’

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
Greg Nash
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) speaks to a reporter as he arrives to the Capitol for a series of votes on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan is urging his fellow Democrats to “have some guts” after some of them refused to debate their Republican opponents in their respective midterm election races. 

During an appearance on “CNN This Morning” on Thursday, co-anchor Don Lemon asked Ryan if more Democrats should appear on conservative news outlets to address tough questions and challenge their GOP opponents, mentioning Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs’s refusal to debate her Republican opponent, Kari Lake.

Ryan had appeared at a Fox News-hosted town hall in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday with his Republican Senate opponent, J.D. Vance. 

“Have some guts. Look, you have to lead. This moment right now is calling for leadership,” Ryan told Lemon. “It’s calling for citizenship. People are tired of the hate, tired of the anger, tired of the fear, tired of the division.” 

The Ohio congressman said Democrats should not be afraid to go into an environment like Fox News and tout the importance of building reform and caring for one another, for the sake of future generations. 

“And we have to make a decision right now in this election whether we’re going to give them a culture where they can have a conversation to solve problems, or we’re going to give them a culture where they have to hate each other, and you have the level of political violence we saw with Paul Pelosi, and that’s just not acceptable to me,” Ryan added, referring to the recent violent assault on the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “We got to ask citizens to step up.” 

Ryan’s showdown with Vance is one of the most closely Senate races of the midterm election cycle. The candidates are vying to replace the retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R), who announced plans to step down last year.

During her own appearance on CNN’s new morning show a day earlier, Hobbs defended her decision not to debate Lake, saying the Republican, one of the most prominent backers of former President Trump’s false election claims, doesn’t want to have a conversation of substance. 

Lake, Hobbs said, has “centered her entire platform around this election denialism. I didn’t want to give her a bigger stage to do that.”

“But additionally, she has shown that she’s not interested in having any kind of substantive conversation. She’s only interested in creating a spectacle.”

Tags CNN CNN This Morning Don Lemon Don Lemon Fox News J.D. Vance kari lake Katie Hobbs Katie Hobbs midterm elections midterms 2022 Ohio Senate race Tim Ryan Tim Ryan
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