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Pigs, produce, and politicians on display at the Ohio State Fair

Vance at State Fair.jpg
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
J.D. Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, at the Ohio State Fair on August 2, 2022.

The scent of barbecue sauce wafted in the air on the midway at the Ohio State Fair Tuesday as author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance tasted various pork ribs.

Vance emerged from judging the barbecue contest without any sauce on his shirt and a few minutes later, he was talking to reporters about a different contest — the race for the U.S. Senate.

Vance has been criticized, sometimes from people in his own party who support him, for lackluster fundraising totals, not doing enough in-person campaigning and not putting as many ads on tv as his Democratic opponent, Congressman Tim Ryan.

Ryan has raised more money than Vance and has put more ads on tv at this point. But Vance says that’s often typical at this point in the race.

“You know that resource differential that some people are worried about. I’ll be honest with you, people are worried about it. It is a common thing and it is not going to prevent us from winning this senate seat," Vance said.

Vance said Democrats often come out strong at first but he says Republicans come through with money and messaging at the end to win.

Ryan, who touts his background as a working class Ohioan, plans to campaign at the fair Friday afternoon. And there's no word on whether he will be judging any more contests.

Whaley at Fair.jpg
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Nan Whaley, Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, at the Ohio State Fair on August 2, 2022.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley was also at the State Fair. With roosters crowing at the poultry barn in the background, Whaley said she's been working hard to meet Ohioans from all walks of life in all 88 counties of the state, even in those that are dominated by Republicans.

"I was in Carroll, Ohio, for example, a couple of weeks ago and they reported back that it was the largest crowd they've ever seen," Whaley said.

Whaley said she's getting incredible bipartisan support in rural, urban and suburban areas. But unlike Ryan, Whaley doesn't have an upper hand on fundraising right now, she doesn't have ads plastered all over the airwaves and she is up against Republican incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine.

As governor, DeWine opened the fair last week. He and First Lady Fran DeWine have made repeated trips to the fair to be part of several events.