Monday night marked the final debate between Ohio U.S. Senate candidates J.D. Vance and Tim Ryan, hosted by 21 WFMJ.

Recent polls still reflect a very close race with only three weeks until Election Day. Political experts said bottom line is, it's going to get intense.

The second debate was productive, hitting on big issues including inflation, abortion, opioids, gun control, police and race.

While a debate winner is subjective, Cincinnati Political Professor David Niven said both candidates likely left the stage feeling confident, but not as if they defeated the other.

"I think both candidates accomplished their most fundamental goal," Niven said, "but neither one comes away feeling like the other one fell apart, like they were able to knock the other one down."

Niven said because Vance looked comfortable and didn't say anything "overly controversial," it was a win for him. He said Ryan was tough and presented himself as a common-sense Ohioan running against someone who doesn't align with an average one, so that's a win for him. 

"I think that Tim Ryan was competing to add some urgency to his campaign to try and get himself over the top on a state that leans Republican," he said, "I think J.D. Vance really was trying not to do any damage."

For the next 20 days, Niven said both need to strike up the intensity and sprint to the finish line.

"It means a nonstop campaign between now and Election Day. There are no days off, there are no hours off. These are two candidates that should be doing absolutely everything they can to meet every person, to get to every campaign event they possibly can," he said, "They're likely to go even harder against each other and more negative against each other."

For Vance, this means pushing his message that he's "running against Washington," and avoiding saying anything that could deter voters. 

"Anything that presents him as out of touch with Ohio, avoid that at all costs," Niven said, "anything that presents him as being too extreme for Ohio."

Niven said Ryan needs to be as aggressive as possible, and work harder to hammer home where Vance stands more extreme on certain issues of the race, like abortion.

"Abortion is obviously one of the defining issues of the race, something that comes up in the polls as one of Ohioan's top concerns," Niven said, "Ryan is going to have to do the heavy lifting of making Vance out to be the extremist without of any of Vance's help."

To watch the full debate, click here.