At State Fair, Vance downplays funding shortfall, explains opposition to same-sex marriage bill

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At the Ohio State Fair on Tuesday, JD Vance played down the fundraising gap that opened up between him and Democrat Tim Ryan. The Republican candidate for the US Senate also explained his opposition to the Respect for Marriage Act.

Fund raising

After a deadly primary, it was feared Vance would struggle to shore up support among Republican voters. Fundraising figures reported last month lend some credence to this view. While Tim Ryan brought in just over $9 million raised in the second quarter, Vance only raised $2.3 million.

Speaking to reporters, however, Vance argued that the disparity is typical and insisted he wasn’t worried about it.

“Democrats are dramatically elevating Republicans — you see that across races in different offices,” Vance said. “And what ends up happening is that Democrats usually get on TV earlier, but Republicans still have the resources to get their message across.”

Vance argued that Ryan voted with President Biden “100% of the time,” and if voters know that, Vance will win the race.

“That resource differential that some people are worried about — I’ll be honest with you, people are worried about it — it’s a common thing, and it’s not going to stop us from winning the Senate seat,” Vance said.

He offered a handful of U.S. Senate races as examples of this funding model — particularly the 2018 race in Missouri, but also the 2016 race in Ohio and even this year’s Senate race in Pennsylvania. However, those comparisons don’t necessarily track Democrats drastically outpacing their GOP counterparts.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, overcame a large fundraising shortfall in 2018 to oust former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO. But once outside expenses are factored in, McCaskill’s funding advantage drops from more than 3-to-1 to about 3-to-2.

In Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman holds a fundraising advantage over Republican Mehmet Oz, but at around 5-4, it’s not insurmountable.

In 2016, Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, beat Democrat Ted Strickland in fundraising, bringing in nearly two and a half times what the former governor raised. Additionally, Portman was also the recipient of the largest share of congressional outside spending this cycle.

Respect for Marriage Act

Last week, the Columbus-based nonprofit Religious Mission: America sent out a press release announcing that Vance opposed the Respect for Marriage Act which would codify the right to same-sex or interracial marriages. The statement went on to recount a quote from Vance that “the element of religious freedom is very bad.”

Nothing in the Respect for Marriage Act implies religious freedom. In short, the law states that no public official should be denied “full faith and credit” of a marriage based on sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin, or denied “any right or claim arising out of such marriage”.

At the time, Vance’s campaign declined to elaborate on how the measure intersects with religious freedom. That changed on Tuesday.

“You want to make sure, of course, that people have respect in their situation,” Vance said. “You also want to make sure that if you’re a church or a nonprofit that you can actually run your church or your nonprofit according to your own values ​​and you have to be – you know it’s a balance that we need to find as a society, and I don’t think the law strikes a very good balance.

It’s a puzzling rationale given the legislation’s limited application to people “acting under the guise of state law,” which would seem to leave churches and nonprofits outside the bounds of its purview. authority. The current US Supreme Court also appears to be very supportive of religious expression claims.

Additionally, Vance called the legislation “bizarre entertainment” as the country faces more pressing economic issues.

“I don’t know what problem it solves,” Vance said. “So I wouldn’t support it because, you’ve got a sky-high inflation crisis, you’ve got a huge recession problem, and we’re discussing rights that have already been granted by the Supreme Court?”

In its landmark 2015 Oberfell decision, the United States Supreme Court guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage. But the court has changed dramatically since then, and the current majority’s willingness to honor previous rulings is questionable at best.

This summer, of course, the court was set to strike down the nation’s right to abortion that the court itself had guaranteed for nearly five decades. The Respect for Marriage Act is gaining momentum specifically because Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in this case launched the idea of ​​reviewing and reversing court-given rights like access to contraceptives and homosexual marriage.

Follow the OCJ journalist Nick Evans on Twitter.

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