U. S. Senate candidates Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Ted Strickland have set a schedule for three debates prior to election day on Nov. 8.
Those debates will take place in Cleveland, Youngstown (75 miles from Cleveland) and Columbus.
Did we miss something? Was the state line re-drawn and now stop at Columbus?
We completely understand political campaigning is all about numbers and population centers. However, to not have a debate in the southern or northwestern parts of the state is not fair to voters and supporters of either candidate. Holding two debates slightly more than an hour’s drive apart is a little like rubbing voters’ faces in the mud.
It’s easy to draw some conclusions as to why these two areas of the state are being ignored, but that doesn’t make it right nor acceptable.
Cincinnati in southwest Ohio is the hometown of Portman, the Republican incumbent. Northwest Ohio is known as blue-collar, which tends to lean toward Democrats. One can imagine Portman staffers vetoing a Lima site and Cincinnati, which was lobbying for a debate, was taken off the table by Strickland campaign staff.
Cincinnati will likely see its share of campaigning, actually probably more than most would care for. However, the other parts of outstate Ohio will be subjected to parachute visits. Both candidates will drop into our area for a photo op and a sound bite lamenting that other debates could not be agreed on and likely blame their opponent.
Then again it may be the weekend between Cleveland and Youngstown debates was arranged so each candidate can attend a Cleveland Indians baseball game and throw out a first pitch. Of course, then they probably couldn’t agree who would perform that ceremony on Saturday and who would pitch on Sunday. As a solution they will probably have to do it at the same game, but then each candidate would likely want a different catcher.
Politicians running for statewide office, not just Portman and Strickland, need to remember they represent the entire state and treat all voters with the respect we deserve.