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Ohio Senate candidate appears to call opponent ‘Pussy’ during forum


Republican Senate primary candidates Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel stunned the Ohio public on Friday night when the two met at a forum and Mandel appeared to call Gibbons “pussy.”

“You’re dealing with the wrong person,” Mandel, the evangelical-backed candidate in the race, said after a heated exchange about Gibbons’ business interests in China, apparently mumbling under his breath: “You look at what’s going on. . Cat.”

Making the incident all the more troubling, both men are current primary favorites to replace Republican Senator Rob Portman, who is retiring. It underscores just how intense the Ohio primary has become and the extreme games the candidates are willing to make to get Donald Trump’s attention. (The former president was filmed saying that as a celebrity he could do anything he wanted with women, including “grabbing them by the pussy.”)

The entire Republican Senate field participated in the forum hosted by FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy organization, in Gahanna, Ohio.

As Gibbons and Mandel tangle, two other candidates, former Ohio Republican President Jane Timken and author JD Vance, sat quietly in the background, appearing to stifle laughter as the pair came on. almost to blows.

Gibbons, an investment banker who self-funds his campaign, accused Mandel, a former Ohio treasurer, of not understanding how business works because “you’ve never been in the private sector in your life.”

“You don’t know the squat!” said Gibbon.

“Two tours in Iraq. Don’t tell me I haven’t worked! Mandel responded, moving closer to Gibbons’ face.

The moderator chimed in just as Vance was urging them, “Guys, sit down. Let’s go. Good God. It’s ridiculous.”

Investment banker Mike Gibbons is spending millions of his own money to run for the US Senate.

Jeff Dean/Associated Press

Gibbons has become a new target since a recent poll showed him dueling Mandel for frontrunner status, particularly over his comments on outsourcing and China business. He catapulted himself to the top of the pack after spending $12 million on an aggressive publicity blitz to introduce him to voters.

Mandel, meanwhile, has campaigned through evangelical churches and has the endorsement of 114 Ohio pastors.

The Ohio Democratic Party released a short statement after the forum:

“We encourage every voter to watch this forum and see for themselves why these Republicans don’t deserve to be in the United States Senate.”




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