DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – All eyes are on Ohio as the Buckeye state will host the first presidential debate of the election season.
President Trump and former Vice President Biden will square off in Cleveland Tuesday night. The virtual media frenzy started Monday as both Republicans and Democrats set expectations for their candidates.
Each party says the debate will showcase a clear contrast in styles and personalities, and each party says that’s a good thing for their candidate.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat, says, “What is the future of our country? How can we protect everyday Ohioans, how can we make sure people survive this pandemic?”
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken says, “It’s critical to win the presidency to win Ohio. But I think we’re really going to see a display of the differences of policy.”
The presidential debate will focus on the supreme court appointment, the coronavirus pandemic, and healthcare.
Mayor Whaley says, “Those of us in Ohio are saying these are life and death decisions that are on the line in this debate, and that’s what we want the debate to be about.”
In 2016 the president won the state by eight points but the newest polls show a narrow Biden lead in Ohio. Timken says her party is running an aggressive ground game. “We really feel like we have an understanding of how the electorate feels about certain issues, what issues are important to them.”
The Biden team has been less aggressive, mostly sticking to virtual events, until now. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says, “The Biden campaign announced today they’re doing a major effort in Ohio. They’re scaling up television buys, they are moving on bringing more paid staff to Ohio.”
Both parties say the messages at the debate will be persuasive, while acknowledging there are likely fewer undecided voters this year. So far Republicans have held a significant edge in Ohio when it comes to staffing and in-person events.
The president has held several in-person rallies while Vice President Biden has only held virtual events but that will soon change. On Wednesday the Bidens will tour Ohio by train.