COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio Debate Commission has called off the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate debates after both Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Senate candidate J.D. Vance declined the invitation.
According to the Ohio Debate Commission, the debates had been scheduled for October 10 and 12 at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. While the democratic nominees, Nan Whaley for governor and Tim Ryan for U.S. Senate, accepted the invitation, neither DeWine nor Vance RSVP’d by the September 20 deadline.
DeWine commented on the debate, saying that while he is not making the formal debate platform, the public will still get to see him and Whaley go head-to-head in several events, including one before an editorial board. Furthermore, Ohioans already know his positions well through the many broadcasts he has made throughout his career as governor.
“The question is, how many of these are you going to do? And we have not decided yet frankly,” DeWine said. “I’m spending every single day out talking to people, listening to people in Ohio, and I think that you know, that’s what I should be doing.”
He said he will make a decision on the debates hosted by Nexstar and the Columbus Metro Club in early October.
Whaley also released a comment on the announcement.
“This is incredibly disappointing. I agreed to this and numerous other debates across Ohio,” Whaley said. “I guess Mike DeWine is too big of a coward to defend his record. Ohio deserves better.”
The ODC said it will not hold a debate with only one candidate present.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” said ODC Board President Dan Moulthrop. “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.”