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Government & Politics

Ohio Republican gubernatorial debate canceled after DeWine, Renacci bow out

Republican candidates for governor 2022
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine, jimrenacci.com, Daniel Konik, Jo Ingles
Gov. Mike DeWine and former Congressman Jim Renacci have declined to participate in the debate.

The Ohio Debate Commission has canceled the debate between the Republican candidates for governor.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mike DeWine declined an invitation to participate in the March 29 debate hosted by the commission ahead of the May 3 primary. He did not provide a reason, but later said he didn't believe it would add to what the public knows about him.

On Thursday, Jim Renacci, one of three other candidates on the Republican ballot, said he would not participate in the debate without DeWine.

“What’s happened with the GOP candidates and the governor’s race is disappointing,” said ODC Board President Dan Moulthrop in a written statement, “but when the incumbent chooses not to debate, it’s not surprising that others in the race have less incentive to do so as well.”

The Democratic candidates for governor – John Cranley and Nan Whaley -- have confirmed their intent to participate in the debate to be held March 29 at 7 p.m. at Central State University’s Robeson Cultural & Performing Arts Center.

The commission is also holding two debates on March 28 at CSU for the U.S. Senate primary candidates. Three Democratic candidates are confirmed for the 11:30 a.m. debate and seven Republican candidates for the 7 p.m. debate.

The Ohio Debate Commission was established in 2018 as a collaboration of media outlets around the state to produce debates for statewide distribution.

Updated: March 17, 2022 at 4:18 PM EDT