DeWine Debate Watch: Day 5
September 2, 2022
Columbus, OH — As debate season starts to ramp up in the closing weeks and days of the election cycle, Mike DeWine has continued to duck committing to debates across Ohio with Mayor Nan Whaley, even as the Mayor has already publicly agreed and challenged DeWine to a number of debates. DeWine also dodged a debate with his primary opponents earlier this year, signaling that he is scared to defend his record to Ohioans, especially since he’s debated political opponents in the past. It’s ‘DeWine Debate Watch’ Day 5, reminding Ohioans that DeWine won’t even try to make his case to them as he seeks re-election to the highest statewide executive office.
“Mike DeWine clearly knows his record over the last four years of selling out working families in favor of the wealthy and well-connected is not going to be popular with Ohio voters. If DeWine can’t even muster the political courage to tell Ohioans why they should re-elect him, he doesn’t deserve the job and should be held publicly accountable for his cowardice,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Matt Keyes.
Ohioans deserve answers from DeWine on a number of key issues, including his promise to ‘go as far as we can’ to rip away reproductive rights, his broken promise to ‘do something’ to combat gun violence in Ohio, his connections to the largest public corruption scandal in state history and his role in the failed redistricting process that produced GOP-gerrymandered maps and cost Ohioans millions of dollars.
Read more from Cleveland.com here and below:
Cleveland.com: Once obligatory, debates continue to fade from Ohio political landscape
September 1, 2022
- When Republican then-Gov. John Kasich declined to debate his Democratic opponent in the 2014 election, he was the first incumbent Ohio governor to do so for nearly 40 years.
- But if current Republican Gov. Mike DeWine also ends up not participating in a debate for this year’s election – something that seems more likely than not, given the tellingly noncommittal stock answer he gives when he’s asked about the subject – it officially will become a trend.
- With a little more than two months to go until the Nov. 8 election, DeWine hasn’t officially said “no” to a debate. But he’s set no firm commitment, either, to debating his Democratic challenger, ex-Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. When he’s asked, he said he’s thinking about it.
- But DeWine has telegraphed his plans to not agree to a debate, in part by taking the position that some of his existing commitments, like plans to attend an upcoming endorsement interview with the editorial board for Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer are themselves de facto debates.
- DeWine also has a recent history of dodging debates with Republican primary opponents, including in his 2018 race against then-Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and earlier this year, when he defeated ex-congressman Jim Renacci and Columbus-area farmer Joe Blystone.
- The process of debating is a longstanding tradition in politics. Supporters of the institution say it offers voters a chance to see candidates in a more spontaneous setting, showing how they’re able to think on their feet while getting them somewhat off their tightly scripted campaign messaging.
- They also can produce moments that change the dynamics of a race. For example, a March debate among the candidates seeking the U.S. Senate nomination, a vulgar, near-physical altercation between two candidates, Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel, is in retrospect appears to have been a turning point in the race, contributing to Gibbons falling in the polls and Trump endorsing Vance.
- “I think debates present an opportunity for those who are interested to hear the two candidates answer questions that they have not been exposed to before,” Ted Strickland, a former Democratic Ohio governor, said in an interview on Tuesday. “They may come up with a canned answer, but it’s healthy for debates to be conducted and healthy in terms of our democracy. Because so many campaigns consist of pre-planned news releases or TV or radio or Internet ads.”
- Strickland said DeWine, who he talks to occasionally, should agree to debate Whaley for the good of voters. “The governor may be thinking, ‘Why should I debate her? Because I’ve got all these built-in advantages.’ And that may be the decision he makes politically. But is that the right decision for the citizens of Ohio who are trying to make up their minds about two candidates? I don’t know,” Strickland said.
- In the aftermath of Kasich’s 2014 decision to not debate FitzGerald, a group of civic organizations and legacy media outlets in 2018 formed the Ohio Debate Commission.
- The organization has hosted multiple debates, including in the 2018 governor’s race between DeWine and Democrat Rich Cordray. The debate commission also held events earlier this year for the Republican and Democratic primary elections for governor, and the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
- But when, earlier this week, the debate commission announced its events for this year’s governor, U.S. Senate and Ohio Supreme Court chief justice races, only Democrats had agreed to participate.