The U.S. Senate race in Ohio is heating up as candidates Josh Mandel and Mike Gibbons got into a standoff where they almost came to blows during a Freedomworks forum on Friday night.
The confrontation got heated after Mandel accused Gibbons of making “millions” from Chinese investments. Gibbons flatly rejected the accusation.
“I don’t think I have made millions off of anything,” Gibbons said, adding, “I would love to have made millions.”
Gibbons heckled Mandel for allegedly being a career politician, claiming that he had “never been in the private sector.” This offended Mandel, who noted his experience serving in the military.
“I’ve worked! I’ve done two tours in Iraq! Don’t tell me I haven’t worked,” Mandel said.
“You don’t know squat!” Gibbons replied as the two men got in each others’ faces.
Mandel and Gibbons are believed to be the current front-runners in the race according to most polling. Their competitor, Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, made fun of the confrontation during an appearance on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast.
“Mandel and Gibbons, I think they’re the other two candidates that have a decent chance at winning this Senate seat, they completely made clowns of themselves,” he said.
“Gibbons is like a 70-year-old guy, and Mandel stands up there like he’s gonna fight him. Next week he’s going to go to the nursing home and beat up on a bunch of 80-year-old ladies to show he’s tough,” Vance told Bannon.
“It’s just a joke. It made everybody look terrible, honestly, except for those of us who avoided it and kept the focus on substance,” Vance continued, adding that “so many politicians think our voters are idiots.”
Vance won the straw poll at the event hosted by Freedomworks, and he believes it is because he kept the focus on the issues rather than focusing on personal conflicts and other nonsense.
“We just kept it on issues. We just kept it on how we need fighters in Washington to fight back against the Biden regime and their allies in the corporate media and the corporate tech world, and that’s why we won,” Vance said.
The War Room clip featuring Vance can be seen here:
The RealClearPolitics polling average has Gibbons holding a narrow lead above Mandel with Vance several points behind. It remains to be seen how their kerfuffle will affect the electorate heading into this crucial primary election.