Local, state politicians react to Tuesday’s presidential debate

By Patrick Keck - [email protected]

SCIOTO — Tuesday evening’s Presidential Debate between President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden received differing opinions from local and state political officials as to who won round one.

The debate, hosted by Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, was the first of three debates between the candidates and focused on many platform issues including the coronavirus, the economy, and racial tensions to name a few.

The Daily Times attempted to reach the Scioto County Republican Party multiple times for comment and as of press time Wednesday did not get a response. The party has endorsed Trump and held a debate watch party Tuesday.

These topics were not discussed in enough detail for Scioto County Democratic Party chairperson Ryan Ottney’s liking, as he said the constant interruptions prevented the candidates from expanding on their policies.

Attacks and distractions are regular in debates like these, said Ottney, yet this debate took it to the extreme. If necessary, he would support a change to the rules to ensure real conversation will take place.

“I don’t think Biden had a lot of chances to say a lot because every time he opened his mouth, Trump would bring it back to some crazy nonsense,” said Ottney, who is running as the Democratic candidate in the Ohio Senate District 14 race. “I would have liked to hear more about their individual plans and policies from both candidates, but Trump went on the attack right from the very beginning.”

Not agreeing with what the president had to say, Ottney was also disappointed in what Trump failed to say as he accounted for his refusals to condemn white supremacy and to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

Ottney felt Biden mostly did a good job of not responding to Trump’s rhetoric, which he owed to Biden’s leadership skills and preparation to face-off against the president.

“I know it’s what a lot of his supporters like, but it’s not presidential,” Ottney said of Trump’s tactics. “You need to be level-headed; you need to be calm; you need to be able to take those kinds of comments and not just immediately break down.”

A poll conducted by the Portsmouth Daily Times found most respondents sided with Ottney, showing 51% of 128 respondents said Biden took the victory in the debate. Trump received 47 votes or 37% of the vote in the poll. 15% said neither candidate won.

“The American people lost,” said Sharon Bender on the poll. “That debacle last night is the reason other countries no longer respect us.”

“It was hard to watch,” Michelle L. Henry posted. “Very disappointed in all three involved.”

This result comes after Trump carried Scioto County in 2016, taking 66% of the vote over Hillary Clinton, and nearly having three times as many votes as Biden in the March primary according to the Scioto County Board of Elections.

Ottney was not joined in his sentiments by state Republicans, including Governor Mike Dewine and recently elected Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, who pledged their support for Trump on Twitter.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, said Biden proved to be “unfit to lead our nation” in a Facebook post. Representing Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, which includes parts of Scioto County, Johnson listed reasons such as increased taxes, a promise to shut down the economy due to the coronavirus, and a lack of law enforcement support to not back the Democratic nominee.

In similar fashion, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown went to Twitter to discuss Trump’s “betrayals of Ohio workers,” mentioning instances of support to corporate interests and job losses.

“Americans are tired of Trump’s phony populism and broken promises. Together we can elect a president who will finally be on workers’ side,” tweeted Brown, an outspoken and regular critic of the president.

By Patrick Keck – [email protected]

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.