(Part-1) First statewide debate for Ohio GOP Senate candidates

Cleveland — In their first statewide debate Monday, the three Republicans running to challenge Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown in Ohio's close U.S. Senate race exchanged personal accusations and accused each other of altering their beliefs to get GOP primary votes.

Businessman Bernie Moreno, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and state Sen. Matt Dolan agreed on certain matters while competing at WJW Fox 8 Studios in Cleveland

All three favored federal abortion restrictions, calling pro-abortion amendments like the one Ohioans adopted last November too harsh. They asked for border security and did not criticize former President Donald Trump, who favored Moreno.

The latter matter separated them swiftly, with Dolan accusing Moreno of trying “to militarize the federal government and deport children” for his proposal to remove illegal immigrants. Dolan called LaRose's Monday request for Democratic President Joe Biden to send three military divisions to the border reckless.

We need to work with the Mexican government, we need to be tough,” he stated.

LaRose, the first Green Beret elected to the Senate, justified his support for a robust military strategy and deporting Biden-era immigrants. “We don’t want to secure the border because we hate the other side,” he stated. “We love our country and want to secure the border.”

LaRose was dubbed “slick” by Moreno for supporting deportation. Trump and Moreno called themselves “political outsiders” competing against two “career politicians.” Despite Trump's four indictments, he assured moderators Colleen Marshall and Joe Toohey that he would still back the former president.

Moreno and LaRose called the Trump cases politically motivated and stated the U.S. has a two-tiered judicial system that targets Biden's political adversaries. Moreno tweeted that Jan. 6 protesters were “morons” and “criminals,” then later called them “political prisoners,” the debate moderators highlighted.

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