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Debates proposed for Ohio's governor and U.S. Senate contests

Top left: Mike DeWine, Top Right: Nan Whaley, Bottom left: Tim Ryan, Bottom right: J.D. Vance
Top left: Mike DeWine, Top Right: Nan Whaley, Bottom left: Tim Ryan, Bottom right: J.D. Vance

The Ohio Debate Commission is the latest organization to release its dates for planned debates for gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

The organization wants to hold debates on October 10 and 12 at the Akron-Summit County Public Library's main auditorium. But at this point, only one party's candidates have agreed to participate in the debates.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley has agreed to appear in the debate against Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday October 10. But DeWine has not confirmed.

The two candidates who want to replace Republican Rob Portman in the U.S. Senate have agreed to some debate opportunities but not on stage together.

Read More: Will there be a debate in the Ohio governor’s race? The answer is debatable.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan said he’ll debate Republican J.D. Vance on October 12 in a debate proposed by the ODC. But Vance hasn’t agreed to that one.

The two candidates have agreed to a proposal for a debate held by a Cincinnati television station in October though there is disagreement about the date for the event. Ryan’s campaign said the debate is scheduled for Oct. 4, but Vance stated the date has yet to be determined.

Vance campaign has accepted an invitation to take part in a different debate in Cleveland also on October 4. Ryan has also committed to a debate in Youngstown on September 26 but Vance has not yet agreed to that event.

It's possible there won't be debates this year, especially in the governor's race.

Analysis:Candidate debates are becoming an endangered species in Ohio

University of Cincinnati Political Science professor David Niven said debates in some races might not happen this year if races aren’t close because frontrunners stand to lose in those situations.

“You don’t want to take the risk of a direct comparison that might help energize your opponent," Niven said.

Polls show the races for U.S. Senate is tight but DeWine is thought to have a double-digit lead over Whaley.

The Ohio Debate Commission has also announced a forum, for the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Since the candidates will not be able to ask questions of each other or state positions on policy, it is being referred to as a forum instead of an actual debate.

Current Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Republican, is age-limited and cannot run again for the post. The debate commission said Democratic Justice Jennifer Brunner has agreed to take part in the forum. Republican Justice Sharon Kennedy is also running for the seat but has not yet confirmed she will take part in that event.

Republican Justices Patrick Fischer and Pat DeWine are also up for re-election this year. They are being challenged by Democratic Franklin County Justices Marilyn Zayas and Terri Jamison respectively. A debate or forum has not been scheduled for those contests.

The political affiliations of candidates for justices and judges will appear next to their names for the first time in Ohio this year.

The Ohio General Assembly passed a law recentlythat now allows those judicial candidates to be designated by their party affiliations on ballots in general elections.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.