State Democratic Party shares debate plans, mocks state GOP for lack thereof

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) –  Political debate is part of how some people determine who they will support in upcoming elections.

Monday, the Ohio Democratic Party announced they had finalized plans for the first of six debates between party primary candidates running in the gubernatorial race.

The first debate will be held September 12, at Martins Ferry high school in Belmont County, Ohio.

“We’re picking eastern Ohio for a particular reason; this is a part of the state where so many communities have felt left behind by the current republican leadership in Columbus,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.

The party has divided the state into six regions and its goal is to hold a debate in each over the next six months or so.

Candidates Nan Whaley, Betty Sutton, Connie Pillich and Joe Schiavoni have all agreed to the debates and, according to Pepper, are eager to share their message with the voters of Ohio.

“We’re excited that we have a set of candidates who are very eager to go out and talk to voters about what they want to do to change the state,” said Pepper. “We view this series of debates as a real opportunity.”

Pepper also blasted the Republican Party for not having debates set up with their candidates, calling the disagreements between candidates over debating a food fight.

Ohio Republican Party spokesman Blaine Kelly responded with this statement:

“I’m glad to see that the Democrats have announced their debate schedule and I look forward to hearing them struggle to explain how raising taxes for a radical single-payer health care system, as well as other failed far-left policies, will help Ohio families. In the meantime, Republicans will continue traveling the state and meeting Ohioans who Democrats have turned their backs on. All of our Republican candidates have expressed interest in negotiating debates, and we look forward to doing so when the time is right.”

When asked if the four candidates that have declared their entry into the gubernatorial race for the Democratic Party would be the only debaters on September 12, Pepper welcomed any other candidates who wanted to join the race to do so.

However, he did mention the party was pleased with the candidates who have already stepped forward and committed the party to a neutral position in terms of support for one candidate over another.

The debates themselves will be live streamed and some of the questions will come from Facebook and Twitter, according to Pepper.

Pepper says the reason behind the live streaming is the number of voters currently outside of Ohio who have a right to vote.

Those voters may want to stay informed on the candidates and their positions.

If you want to get tickets to the first debate, you can text the word DEBATE to 90975 for an alert when tickets become available.

Logistics on the five future debates are still being worked out. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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