Washington Examiner | by Kate Scanlon | March 18, 2022
Ohio Republican Senate candidates Josh Mandel and Mike Gibbons nearly came to blows during a candidate forum Friday evening.
Mandel, a former state treasurer and an early front-runner in the race, has targeted Gibbons in recent weeks in the contentious and competitive Republican primary. Gibbons, a businessman, has steadily climbed the polls.
At a GOP candidate forum organized by FreedomWorks, Mandel claimed that Gibbons made “billions of dollars” shipping Ohio businesses to China. Gibbons disputed the claim, saying Mandel “never worked in the private sector.”
Mandel then jumped up and stood inches from Gibbons, yelling that he served two tours in Iraq.
“Don’t tell me I haven’t worked,” Mandel said.
“You don’t know squat,” Gibbons said.
The two men told the other to back off as the moderator got up and encouraged them to sit down.
J.D. Vance, an author who served in the Marine Corps and who is also running for Senate in Ohio, mocked the spat and said, to applause, that the way Mandel used his military service is “disgraceful.”
“It’s not a political football for you to toss around,” Vance said. “Think about what we just saw. … This guy wants to be a U.S. senator, and he’s up here [saying], ‘Hold me back, I got two tours in the Marine Corps.’ What a joke. Answer the question. Stop playing around.”
Gibbons contended that “Josh is no longer in the lead.”
“Josh, there’s a reason you’re no longer in the lead, and we just saw some of it here tonight,” Gibbons said.