Josh Mandel Debate Descends into Chaos as Candidate Argues with Audience Member

A Monday debate between U.S. Ohio Senate candidates Josh Mandel and Morgan Harper became chaotic following interruptions from a woman in the audience.

A video of an argument between Mandel and audience member has gone viral on social media with over 130,000 views. The event was held at City-God Baptist Fellowship on East 152nd Street in Cleveland.

The clip shows the moderator's attempt to stop the argument from escalating between Mandel and the audience member, who is out of view. The full debate can be watched here.

The moderator initially asked Mandel whether he would like to elaborate on comments he said previously, likening Black Lives Matter to thugs.

The woman in the audience loudly agreed with this line of questioning while saying Mandel should be "put out." The moderator asked the woman to keep her comments to herself.

Turning to the person in the audience, Mandel asked the woman to clarify what she meant by what she said. She added that she wanted someone to ask the candidate to leave.

Mandel replied by insisting that he was free to speak at this debate as this was America. The moderator repeatedly called on both individuals to stop arguing so that the debate could continue.

The moderator reiterated that Mandel was free to speak and asked the woman to let him continue with the debate.

She then made reference to Mandel being a White male and asked the moderator not to "suck up to him."

Mandel then hit back at the audience member and asked not to be lectured to on race. He also highlighted his time in the armed forces and the bonds he made with people of all races while serving. Mandel served as an intelligence specialist with the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

"Let me tell you something, ma'am. I put my life in the hands of young Black guys. I had young Black men put their life in my hands, in the United States Marine Corp in two tours in Iraq," he said.

"So don't stand there and lecture me. Those were my brothers whether they were Black or white or Hispanic or if they were Asian.

"Don't stand there and lecture me about race and color. We put our lives in each other's hands. Those are my brothers as marines."

Throughout the speech, the moderator continued to ask Mandel to stop responding to the audience member. He then continued with his line of questioning regarding Mandel's comments on Black Lives Matter.

"What violates my sensibilities over the past year or two, in respect to behavior that you are describing is organizations like Black Lives Matter that burnt down police stations in places like Minneapolis. Organizations like antifa, that assaulted police officers," Mandel said.

He also said that claimed BLM and antifa came to Euclid Avenue in Cleveland and destroyed a cupcake store instead of peacefully protesting.

He closed by saying: "You can describe it however you want to describe it but [it is] that type of behavior from Black Lives Matter and antifa we have to stop.

"It is that type of behavior that is piercing the heart of this republic."

Newsweek has contacted Mandel's office for comment.

Josh Mandel
An image of Ohio U.S. Senate candidate, Josh Mandel taken from his website. Mandel got into an argument with an audience member during a debate. Josh Mandel Website