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Politics

Ohio gubernatorial, U.S. Senate primary debates to take place in March

Central State University cement sign with red lettering in a flower bed with trees in the background.
Tana Weingartner
/
WVXU

The Ohio Debate Commission is inviting U.S. Senate and Ohio gubernatorial primary candidates to debate at Central State University next month.

The debates are set for Monday, March 28, and Tuesday, March 29, respectively.

The format and moderators will be announced at a later date.

In a statement, Central State President Jack Thomas says the university in Wilberforce is "honored, excited and fully committed" to serve as host site for the primary debates.

"All planning is moving forward with the safety of our campus community, the candidates, campaign staff, members of the press and all other guests as the top priority."

There are a variety of candidates running for the Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman, who is retiring.

Running for the Republican nomination are State Senator Matt Dolan, businessman Mike Gibbons, Bill Graham, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, Neil Patel, Mark Pukita, former chair of the Ohio Republican Party Jane Timken, and author J.D. Vance.

Vying for the Democratic nomination are attorney Morgan Harper, Traci Johnson, Congressman Tim Ryan, and LaShondra Tinsley.

The candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Ohio governor are former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

The Republican gubernatorial office-seekers are Joe Blystone, a central Ohio farmer, incumbent Governor Mike DeWine, former State Representative Ron Hood, and former Congressman Jim Renacci.

WVXU plans to carry the debates on-air.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the Central State University community to contribute to our state’s election, while setting an example of civic engagement and shining a light on the outstanding academic strengths of our institution," says Mark Hatcher, Central State University Board of Trustees chair in the release. "Public service and community leadership are at the core of our great university and its history."

"As a nonpartisan convener, with several dozen partnerships for airing and covering the debates throughout Ohio, the ODC is eager to host these debates at Central State, an unprecedented selection," adds ODC Executive Director Jill Zimon. "We are thrilled to combine the candidates’ passion for serving Ohio with our ability to conduct high quality debates and help Ohio voters become well-informed before they cast their votes."