Chris Ronayne vs. Lee Weingart Cage Match at the Renaissance Let's GOOOOOOOOOO

City Club County Exec debate will follow 2021 Cleveland mayoral debate format

click to enlarge Republican Lee Weingart (L) and Demorat Chris Ronayne (R)
Republican Lee Weingart (L) and Demorat Chris Ronayne (R)

The candidates for Cuyahoga County Executive, Democrat Chris Ronayne and Republican Lee Weingart, will face off in a debate at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel at noon on Sept. 20, the City Club of Cleveland announced Thursday.

The City Club will formally host the debate, and sell tickets on its website, while Ideastream Public Media will furnish a moderator.

The moderator won't be the only one asking questions, though. As with the Cleveland mayoral debates last year — and in keeping with the City Club's tradition of audience Q&A's — residents will have an opportunity to submit questions ahead of time for the candidates. Those whose questions are selected will be invited to attend the debate and ask their question in person.

“Debates are at the heart of what we do here at the City Club,” said CEO Dan Moulthrop, in a press release. “Our mission is to create conversations of consequence that help democracy thrive, and that’s what this is—it’s a chance for candidates to be at their best and for voters to evaluate them, side by side, to inform how they’ll cast a ballot in November.”

The county executive race has mostly been a snoozer, a far cry from the frenzied 2021 mayoral race, which was marked by a constant stream of endorsements and forums. (In 2021, to be fair, a September primary meant that the campaign season was more compressed.)

This Spring, Weingart challenged Ronayne to 12 debates. In addition to the marquee  City Club event, he wanted to take the show on the road, staging debates across the county's 11  council districts. 

Not much came of that idea. And since then, the biggest development has been Weingart's endorsement by former Cleveland councilman and mayoral candidate Basheer Jones, who was the subject of a federal subpoena the very next week. 

In other recent campaign news, both candidates have offered proposed solutions to the ongoing debacles in the County's Division of Child and Family Services, and both have clarified their positions on the Global Center for Health Innovation. Weingart wants to be rid of it. Ronayne wants to keep it and restore it to productive and profitable use. Both object to taking out county bonds to pay for its formal integration with the Huntington Convention Center, which county council is doing anyway. 

Scene sat down with both candidates in June to hear more about their platforms and leadership philosophies. You can read those conversations here.

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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