A Democratic candidate for Congress has challenged Ohio Senator and Republican Congressional Candidate Michael Rulli to a debate after it was uncovered that a speech Rulli had given to a Senate committee had been taken nearly word-for-word from a "sample script" sent to Rulli's office by an oil and gas industry lobbyist.

Democratic Congressional candidate, Michael Kripchak said in a press release that this is not an issue of a difference in policy preference, but an issue of integrity.

"Ohioans deserve representatives who formulate their own views and policies, not those dictated by the highest bidder," Kripchak said

Kripchak went on to challenge Rulli to a public debate where voters can hear directly from both Kripchak and Rulli regarding their platforms and have an open dialogue.

"Unlike my opponent I am not owned by the lobby. I am my own man advocating for the people of our district," Kripchak said.

A report from Cleveland.com reporter Jake Zuckerman initially pointed out the similarities in a speech Rulli gave in September 2023 to an Ohio Senate committee and a sample script that was sent to Rulli's office by lobbyist Mitch Givens. 

21 News reached out to Rulli, who fired back claiming that the three lines that were identical between Givens' speech and his were actually written by him in a piece of legislation a year before he gave the speech.  

In a conflicting response, Rulli initially claimed he had never seen the email from Givens, but then also said Givens had  merely suggested some lines from his legislation for him to use in his speech. 

"Those are my words. I wrote the bill, and I wrote it with the [Legislative Service Commission.] ... You can't plagiarize your own words," Rulli said.

Kripchak responded to Rulli by saying his team will look into the situation and it should be easy to figure out the truthfulness of the situation.

Rulli went on to say he is open to a debate and welcomed Kripchak's campaign team to contact Rulli's campaign team to set everything up.

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