GAMBIER — Pundits suggest that challenger Joyce Healy-Abrams has little to lose Tuesday when she faces incumbent Ohio Congressman Bob Gibbs at Kenyon College in their only debate of this election season. The Democrat is making her first political run, while Republican Gibbs seeks a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The winner will represent Ohio’s 7th District, a product of reapportionment following the 2010 Census.
Healy Abrams is considered a dark horse. Real Clear Politics and the Rothenberg Political Report call Gibbs a “likely” winner, and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics recently shifted the race from “likely” to “safe” for the GOP. Perhaps more telling is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee doesn’t include Ohio’s 7th among its featured “Red to Blue Races.” But Healy Abrams concedes nothing.
“The voters have a right to learn who we are and what our positions are,” Healy Abrams said. “We definitely have some major differences. The debate is late in the race, but better late than never.” She readily identifies areas in which her ideas clash with those of Gibbs, while his approach is a bit different.
“I talk more about what I think we need to get done than about my opponent,” Gibbs said. “She’s never held public office, but I hear a lot of the same old partisan rhetoric. One thing we agree on, though, is that Washington is broken. That was my concern when I ran in 2010 and still is. I’m worried about the direction the country is headed.”
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