Senate Candidates Sherrod Brown and Jim Renacci Land No Punches In First Debate

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, respond to questions during the first debate in the US Senate race in 2018.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, respond to questions during the first debate in the US Senate race of the 2018 elections. [ideastream]

Kabir Bhatia, WKSU

The first debate between Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, touched on a number of topics last night, including which candidate is more in-touch with Ohio.

The debate in Cleveland was mostly low-key as Brown, a Democrat seeking a third term, and Renacci, a Republican who was elected to the House in 2010, fielded questions from moderators and audience members.

The topics ranged from immigration reform to gun control to climate change. But within his answers, Renacci repeatedly characterized Brown as a Washington insider.

“He doesn’t come out here to Ohio too much. He loves Washington too much and loves staying with Chuck Schumer and voting his direction,” Renacci said.

Brown finally responded.

“Just to make it clear, I’ve heard Congressman Renacci -- maybe four times now -- say I’m never in Ohio. I come home every single weekend. I go to Washington on Monday and come back Thursday. You all know that, so I don’t know where that argument is going.”

Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Jim Renacci during a debate for the US Senate seat

Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown debates Republican Congressman Jim Renacci for the US Senate seat [ideastream]

Immigration

When asked about the immigration raids that occurred in Ohio this year, both candidates said they did not support the government separating children from their parents, but they diverged on immigration reform. 

Brown said officials should be concentrating on people who commit crimes.

“You don’t prioritize by going after and deporting people who are working hard, who are paying their taxes, who are active in their church, who are raising their family, who are doing things in our community,” said Brown. “If someone’s been here for 10 years working in their community, working full-time, supporting their family, why would we deport them?”

Renacci responded by saying Democrats should have implemented immigration reform when they controlled the House and Senate a decade ago.

“Here’s the problem: when we’re talking about immigration, we’re talking about illegal immigration.  The senator wants to say that’s not illegal, and it’s not breaking the law.  There’s a reason why it says ‘illegal immigration,’” Renacci said. “Now look, I believe we need to make sure that we’re looking at our immigration system that’s broken.”

Brown and Renacci will debate again on Saturday in Columbus, and at Miami University on Oct. 26.

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