DeWine, Vance say no to Ohio Debate Commission debates for governor, U.S. Senate

Republican candidates for Ohio governor and U.S. Senate each have declined to participate in debates scheduled by the Ohio Debate Commission for next month in Akron.

Gov. Mike DeWine and Senate candidate J.D. Vance turned down the invitation by the ODC for the Oct. 10 and 12 debates with Democratic candidates Nan Whaley and Tim Ryan, respectively, the commission announced Wednesday.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” ODC Board President Dan Moulthrop said in a statement. “We work hard with our partners and funders to convene debates that would serve campaigns, serve voters and strengthen democracy. Yet this election year has been plagued with candidates from both parties who prize their campaign consultants’ input over voters’ information needs. When 84% of Ohioans are saying they want debates and campaigns refuse a good faith offer from a statewide organization, democracy is paying the price."

The ODC, a collaborative nonprofit between civic and media organizations and college and universities around the state, could have opted to hold single-candidate or “empty chair” debates.

The commission sent save-the-date information to all candidates in mid-May and followed with formal invitations July 1. The deadline to RSVP was Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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