GOP’s Portman, Democrat Strickland, face off in 1st debate

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A Republican senator from Ohio, who recently rescinded his support for Donald Trump, and his Democratic challenger are holding their first debate.

GOP U.S. Sen. Rob Portman emphasized his work to stop human trafficking, fight the country’s heroin epidemic and aid struggling steel workers.

He called himself an independent voice for Ohio in a debate Friday in Youngstown.

Ted Strickland, a former Democratic Ohio governor, criticized Portman for supporting trade deals that Strickland said have cost American jobs.

Portman said Ohio lost 355,000 jobs when Strickland was governor, which coincided with the national recession.

Strickland said Ohio had the fifth-fastest growing economy when he left office.

Portman is well ahead of Strickland in fundraising and polls.

The two meet again in Columbus on Monday and in Cleveland on Oct. 20.

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