In the (for now) final scheduled debate between the two gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine once again clashed on some of the most important issues to the state’s voters. The battle lines between these two are well-defined and their stances have been hashed out on numerous occasions, but the hour-long debate at Cleveland State University was yet another chance for the electorate to hear where these two men stand.

Cordray and DeWine sharply contrasted on issues of healthcare and abortion rights, to say the least. DeWine was repeatedly attacked for his outdated and irresponsible positions on both.

As was discussed on stage, the GOP candidate has backed so-called “Heartbeat Bills” in Ohio, greatly restrictive policies that would prohibit abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, even in the case of rape or incest. In a country that already has deeply conservative and immoral restrictions on women’s health — attempting to impose the choices of old, out-of-tech men on the country’s women — DeWine stands out for wanting to make things even worse.

Cordray also slammed his opponent for his previous attempts to block the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in the state, a policy that has extended health care insurance to more than 700,000 Ohioans.

“If he had his way, people in Ohio with pre-existing conditions would not have protections today. And, if he had his way, we never would have had the Medicaid expansion in Ohio because his lawsuit would have wiped it out all across the country. Fortunately, he failed,” Cordray quipped.

The health care extended to issues of the opioid crisis that has ravaged the state and discussion of Issue 1, an attempt to reduce or eliminate jail time for drug possession or low-level drug-related felonies. DeWine is attempting to extend policies of mass incarceration and continue America’s failed drug war by throwing everyday Ohioans (more often than not, young people of color) in jail for simple, non-violent offenses. Cordray has worked to reduce the state’s mass incarceration and also pledged to go to work on reforming Ohio’s horribly corrupt and morally bankrupt cash bail issues.

Ultimately, the framing of the discussion came down to the campaigns from both talking points. DeWine tried to frame Cordray as weak on crime and out of touch with the moral issues of rural voters. Cordray painted DeWine as a career politician, out of touch with the modern issues of all Ohio voters as a result of his insider status.

“Mike, you’ve had your chance for 42 years. It’s time to step aside,” Cordray demanded in his opening statement.

DeWine’s regressive and conservative stances on health care, the opioid epidemic, abortion, taxation and a litany of other issues will hurt Ohioans and they do appear to be a direct result of his distance from the working class and how beholden he is to moneyed corporate interest. The candidate of Big Pharma and big business over the needs of the working class, DeWine’s statements only grow more troubling with every passing debate.

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