Mike DeWine and J.D. Vance Won't Debate in Events Organized by Ohio Debate Commission

Republican candidates decline invite from non-partisan Ohio Debate Commission

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine - State of Ohio
State of Ohio
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance, the Republican nominees in the two most high-profile Ohio elections this year, have refused to debate their Democratic opponents Nan Whaley and Tim Ryan in events organized by the non-partisan Ohio Debate Commission.

The ODC announced Wednesday that it had planned debates for the Governor’s race and the U.S. Senate race for Oct. 10 and Oct. 12, respectively, at the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

The ODC said it made multiple attempts to apprise the candidates of the event, including a "save the date," delivered in May, and a formal invitation on July 1. Neither DeWine nor Vance had RSVP'd by the organization's official deadline — yesterday at 5:00 p.m.

"We’re obviously disappointed," said ODC Board President and City Club of Cleveland CEO Dan Moulthrop, in a prepared 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."

Though both Whaley and Ryan had agreed to participate in the debates, the ODC said it will not host "empty chair" debates featuring only one candidate this year.

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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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