The Strickland/Brown & Kasich/Taylor campaign just issued a joint statement announcing that there will be two gubernatorial debates:

  • Sept. 14: Columbus
  • Oct. 7: Toledo

The debates are organized by a consortium of Old Media:

Newspapers included in the consortium are The Akron Beacon Journal, The Canton Repository, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Columbus Dispatch, The Dayton Daily News, The Toledo Blade and The Youngstown Vindicator.

They will be televised locally with feed provided to the rest of the State.  This is half the number of debates we had in 2006.  No word on format.

In 2002, Bob Taft debated Bob Hagan three times.  I’m pretty sure there was more than two debates in 1998, which included the minor party candidates.

Despite having ballot access, none of the “minor” party candidates were invited to participate in the debates. 

To date, no public polling has actually included the minor party candidates.  Given the comments with gun rights forums and the “Tea Party” phenomenon, Libertarian candidate Ken Matesz, may do better than expected as  gun rights voters protest the Republican’s nomination of John Kasich.  Dennis Spisak, the prolific Strickland basher who posts regularly @ ProgressOhio, and Green Party candidate has also not been invited to participate.

Now, there are completely reasonable reasons to exclude Matez and Spisak as there is very little doubt neither one of them has a realistic shot at winning.  Neither has raised any significant money to communicate a message that can reach a large number of voters.  They don’t seem to be campaigning much at all, let alone much outside of their local communities. (Matesz’s campaign website lists only two days at the Ohio State Fair as his only event in August, which is more than Dennis Spisak lists which is none.)

With no evidence that these candidates have an air or ground game to speak of, it’s kind of hard to justify putting them on the same stage with the two major party candidates who are hitting the road and the airwaves already.

However, what good is ballot access without debate access?  In 2008, despite being only as listed as “Independents”  the Libertarian candidate got 1.8% of the vote to the Green Party candidate’s 1%.  I have every reasons to believe that listing their minor party status is likely going to cause them to inherently get more votes, particularly for Matez.

After all the 1998 inclusion of minor party candidates (who were listed on the ballots as Independents) in the debates resulted in the Natural Law candidate getting nearly 2% of the vote, and the Reform Party candidate getting over 3% of the vote.

If there’s any candidate who would be more concerned about sharing the stage with the third-party candidates, it would be Kasich because sharing the stage with Matez could turn Matez into a “spoiler” in what everyone is predicting will be a down to the wire gubernatorial bid.

I have to admit that I’m torn on this issue.  I understand the idea that we should devote what limited time we have to have a debate on the only candidates who have a realistic shot at being Governor.  On the other hand, what kind of progress have we made if we give minor party candidates ballot access, but not media access?  How much should the media give candidates like Spisak and Matez “free media” attention if they don’t even seem to be campaigning much in Ohio beyond their personal computers?  Given that the best a third-party candidate who was included in a debate was 3%, does that make the argument against  including candidates who can only serve as “spoilers?”

It seems like we constantly have this debate, but I’m not sure we’ve ever gone anywhere with it.

  • OhioanVoters

    John Kasich needs to answer the following question during the televised debates in Columbus on September 14 and in Toledo on October 7:

    John, as those who you continue to pay and entrust your own children with were secretly recorded saying, do you too believe “before God” that it is “the right thing” to deliberately put thousands of children at “risk” with several repeat child molesters lead into temptation to molest again while deceiving and defrauding the parents about it?

    That question is in regard to the administrators at the private “Christian” school (where John continues to send his own daughters to) and the affiliated church who were secretly recorded saying the following about one of the school’s child molesting Teachers/Coaches (and Youth Directors for elementary-aged children) as reported by the Columbus Dispatch newspaper:

    “We understand that if something happens between Dwayne and a student, we will be big-time liable,”
    executive pastor Jim Augspurger said on the recording.
    “That's a risk we take. I think before God we did the right thing and it may not be the worldly, may not even be the most prudent thing, but it is something we have done,”
    he said.
    “We've wiped the slate clean. I understand the situation it puts us in.”

    After those administrators got caught by the Columbus Dispatch, one of those who participated in that 10-year Conspiracy of Criminal Negligence, Deception, Fraud, and Cover-Ups against we parents (including John Kasich) publicly stated the following (as also recorded):

    “I was a Lead Pastor here for eight years and a Director Of Junior High Youth Ministries in the past. This is a Watergate. The church covered it up. I was in the meetings. I've known all these years that it was a student. And I was told to get back to wiping noses and not to let it out.”

    John Kasich remains silent and refuses to do anything about those serious crimes. John actually continues to send his very own daughters to that private school where those administrators remain in power, remain as a serious threat to unsuspecting consumers, and remain as horrible examples to all students (including John’s daughters Emma and Reese) on how to treat your business customers and your fellow man.

    The truth is that John Kasich clearly does NOT have the courage, integrity, leadership abilities, or the common sense needed to be a suitable Governor for Ohio.
    Please refer to the irrefutable and overwhelming evidence at and

    Please bring these crucial facts about John Kasich and his extremely poor judgments to the attention of Ohio voters.

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