Issue 1 heavy topic in final gubernatorial debate

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WDTN) – Richard Cordray and Mike DeWine squared off in their third and final gubernatorial debate at Cleveland State University Monday night. They took advantage of the last chance to throw jabs face-to-face, in a debate streamed live on WDTN.com.

Each is trying to gain any possible edge in an extremely tight race; the most recent NBC News poll has them tied at 47% apiece, and the pressure is mounting.

DeWine, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, said of Cordray: “You have not led in any job you’ve ever had.” The Democrat Richard Cordray said of law enforcement organizations: “They know when it comes to being tough and effective on crime, he hasn’t delivered.”

Polling neck-and-neck, it was a final chance for each candidate to separate themselves on familiar key issues: the opioid crisis, the ECOT scandal, handling of rape kits, health insurance, and Issue 1.

Cordray says, “We will drive fentanyl out of Ohio. Fentanyl has run wild under his watch in Ohio. And it’s pretty precious for him to talk about what we need to do about fentanyl. Misrepresenting Issue 1, which has nothing to do with drug trafficking laws.”

In a heated exchange, DeWine said, “And so that person with 19 grams, enough to kill 10,000… Is that funny? 10,000 people?” Cordray said, “It’s laughable, your claim.” DeWine responded, “10,000 people, Richard. They will get no jail time, it will kill our drug courts, it’s horrible.”

Republican and Democratic officeholders, past and present, say a lot of ground can still be gained in the final stretch.

Former Republican Congressman Steve Austria says, “Both candidates are going to work hard to get their message out, but then you get those undecideds where you try to scare them away from your opponent to get them at least not voting for your opponent and hopefully coming your way.”

Nan Whaley, the Democratic Mayor of Dayton, says, “You find another gear. It’s 29 days, around 350 hours until Election Day. And Wednesday is the first day of voting.”

Now it’s back to the campaign trail for the candidates, for a final furious sprint to the finish as Election Day is exactly 4 weeks from Tuesday.

Mike DeWine closed by saying, “I run for governor because I know that I can make a difference. Throughout my career I’ve been able to take problems on and fix those problems.”

Cordray said in his closing statement, “Betty Sutton and I respectfully ask for your vote, a vote to step into our future, a vote to put our families ahead of special interests, and a vote that counts.”

The entire debate can be seen below:

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