Candidates for Ohio’s Next Governor Set to Debate

DeWine, Cordray to Meet Tonight at Marietta College

MARIETTA, Ohio — The two major party candidates seeking to become Ohio’s next governor will hold the second of three debates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine will answer questions beginning at 7 p.m. today on a televised debate expected to last about an hour.

The debate will be held in the Ban Johnson Arena on the Marietta College campus, but seating at the event, being styled a “town hall,” is restricted to people invited by campaign officials, along with a few Marietta College students.

Tom Perry, vice president of communications and brand management for the college, said it is acting as a venue sponsor and has no role in determining the way the debate is organized. The debate is being organized by two NBC television stations and the state Republican and Democratic parties.

A memorandum of understanding with the two state campaign organizations and NBC states that the ticket distribution system provides 67 seats to be filled by each of the two parties, Perry said. The college was given a few to distribute to students, he said, but the audience size is limited to 150 people.

The candidates will rotate in answering first and responding second to questions, he said, and will be allowed 90 seconds for each question. The format will allow about 15 questions during the one-hour debate, Perry said, referring to the memorandum.

Colleen Marshall, news co-anchor for NBC4 in Columbus, WCMH-TV, will moderate the debate, along with Philip Hickman of WTAP-TV, the Parkersburg NBC affiliate. Staff at the Columbus station will receive questions from the public and whittle them down to 15, Hickman said.

Questions can be submitted using #OHGOV18 on Instagram or Twitter, or by emailing them to or Those whose questions are selected will be invited to attend the event and ask them in person; anyone whose question is chosen but who can’t attend will be asked to submit a video of themselves posing the question; and failing that, one of the moderators will simply read the question to the candidates, Hickman said.

Washington County (Ohio) Republican Party Chairman Mike Webber said the state party will be in charge of allocating the tickets. Cordray campaign spokesman Mike Gwin said family, friends and supporters of the campaign will be allocated tickets.

The candidates, Gwin said, will not know in advance what the questions are.

Democrats in Marietta, Washington County party President Willa O’Neill said, will be getting together for a watch party tonight.

The debate will be broadcast on WOVA-TV, the Parkersburg Fox channel.

Democrat Richard Cordray, a lawyer, has been Ohio’s attorney general, solicitor general and treasurer, but he is best known as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He held that role from 2012-17 in an office established by the Obama administration to advocate for consumers. Cordray, 59, is running with candidate for lieutenant governor Betty Sutton, 55, who served in the U.S. House representing Ohio’s 13th district from 2007-13. She represented the 47th district in the Ohio assembly from 1993-2000.

Republican Mike DeWine, 71, also a lawyer, is Ohio attorney general. Prior to that, he served 12 years as U.S. Senator from Ohio, eight years in the House representing the 7th District and nearly two years as a state senator. His running mate and candidate for lieutenant governor is John Husted, 51, currently Ohio secretary of state and previously a state senator for two years; a member of the state house for the 41st district for eight years; and speaker of the Ohio House for four years.


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