Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio thought it was a good thing to debate his Republican midterm challenger over the 2017 GOP tax cuts, but he apparently quickly realized that wouldn’t be such a great idea.
Brown told The New York Times July 27 that Republicans “should be ashamed of their tax bill” and said he was willing to devote an entire debate with his challenger, GOP Rep. James B. Renacci of Ohio, to the tax reform bill. Brown, notably, voted against the bill.
The senator’s re-elect campaign issued a statement Saturday evening that claimed the two campaigns had agreed to three debates before voters head to the ballot box in November.
Renacci’s campaign disputes Brown’s announcement, confirming they are interested in participating in debates but that they are still negotiating the times and dates.
The Renacci campaign is also holding Brown to his commitment to debate tax reform, publicly calling for one of the debates to solely focus on that issue.
Leslie Shedd, Renacci’s senior communications person, tweeted about the campaign’s hangups — and indicated that maybe the Brown campaign doesn’t really want to have an entire debate devoted to taxes after all.
In a tweet responding to a Twitter post by Columbus dispatch reporter Randy Ludlow, Shedd said there is more to be determined.
“Just to clarify, we have agreed to AT LEAST three debates but no locations have been confirmed. We’d love to have more than three debates.”
She noted that Brown had told New York Times reporter Jim Tankersley that Brown had agreed to at least one debate on taxes, and Renacci had “accepted that.”
Just to clarify, we have agreed to AT LEAST three debates but no locations have been confirmed. We’d love to have more than three debates. @SherrodBrown told @jimtankersley he wanted at least one debate on taxes – and we have publicly accepted that.
— Leslie Shedd (@leslieshedd) July 29, 2018
In a statement to the Dispatch, she went even further:
“Without talking to us, the Brown campaign said we had finalized our debate negotiations — which once again, we have not. Clearly they did this because Sherrod Brown went rogue and agreed to a debate on taxes that their campaign knows he can’t win. So they are scrambling and making things up to try and cover for their boss.”
Ohio is one of the states that appears to be benefitting the most from the 2017 tax cuts.
Multiple Fortune 500 companies and small-to-medium size businesses have raised wages and shelled out $1,000-plus bonuses to employees and increased investment in the state following the tax bill becoming law.
While wages and benefits appear to be increasing, voters in Ohio and across America split as to whether or not they favor the tax bill.
A June New York Times and Survey Monkey poll found that 48 percent of voters favor the bill, while 47 percent are against it.
The Brown campaign says negotiations will continue, but has yet to make good on Brown’s promise last week.
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