According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jon Husted has decided to drop out of the Cleveland City Club debate with his Democratic opponent Maryellen O’Shaughnessy.

The debate was scheduled for September 29th.  Both campaigns had confirmed their attendance.

Husted’s reason?  He’s scheduled to do nine joint appearances with O’Shaughnessy.  Not sure how many of those are nothing more than editorial board meetings with Ohio’s newspapers. [UPDATE:] Yep.  We’ve confirmed with the O’Shaugnessy campaign that Husted’s “nine joint appearances” consists of two planned debates, and the rest were joint appearances in front of Ohio newspaper’s editorial boards seeking their endorsements.  In other words, most are not pubic events or appearances at all.  Even worse, we’ve learned that Husted actually booked himself at a forum hosted by a conglomerate of smaller central Ohio newspapers that was originally scheduled on the same day.  However, that event has since been moved to accommodate the already scheduled and confirmed Cleveland City Club debate.  In other words, Husted cited the number of joint appearances as the reason to drop the Cleveland City Club even though he continues to book additional joint appearances, but ones not open to the public.

Husted Chicken File Photo

“We are disappointed to hear that Jon Husted backed out on his appearance at this important debate. The City Club of Cleveland provides a unique opportunity for Northeast Ohioans to see both candidates on the same stage and compare their ideas side by side. Maryellen respects the rich history of the City Club of Cleveland and their nationally recognized status as the Citadel of Free Speech. She looks forward to appearing on stage September 29 with or without Senator Husted. This is a blatant snub to the City Club of Cleveland,” said O’Shaughnessy’s campaign spokeswoman Heidi Hubmann in a statement released to Plunderbund.

Regardless, not doing the Cleveland City Club debate is a pretty remarkable walk back.  Did Husted not realize these other joint appearances when he initially confirmed?

We’re seeing a remarkable outbreak of Republicans afraid to debate their Democratic opponent.  Tom Ganley refuses to debate Betty Sutton.  Boccieri crashes his opponent’s town hall… Rand Paul-esque hilarity ensues.  And now Jon Husted is cancelling already agreed upon debates.

Jon Husted drops out of a debate citing the number of newspaper endorsements appearances he and his opponent must make, even though he continues to book even more such joint appearances.  The Secretary of State is entrusted with running a safe and secure election and promoting democratic principles in government.  In chickening out of the Cleveland City Club debate, Jon Husted has indicated that he’s more concerned with giving power brokers access to him as a candidate than the people whose democracy he seeks to be entrusted to his care.

Let’s hope he flip-flops again.