CSU to host senate, gubernatorial primary debate


WILBERFORCE — The Ohio Debate Commission invited candidates in contested Republican and Democratic races for US Senate and Ohio Governor to debate on Monday, March 28, and Tuesday, March 29, respectively. The Paul Robeson Cultural & Performing Arts Center on the campus of Central State University in Wilberforce will serve as the venue. The specific format for the debates is in formation, and selection of moderators will be announced at a future date. The debates will be held in accordance with public health requirements, including socially distancing in the 1000 seat theater. The debates will be made available and free for broadcast and live-streaming, in order to reach as many voters and parts of the state as possible.

“Central State University is honored, excited and fully committed to serve as host site for the state of Ohio primary debates, said Dr. Jack Thomas, Central State University President. “All planning is moving forward with the safety of our campus community, the candidates, campaign staff, members of the press and all other guests as the top priority.”

“I cannot be more excited about this partnership between the Ohio Debate Commission and Central State University,” says Eddie Harrell, Jr., ODC Board Member and Regional VP of Radio One (Ohio Markets). “The leadership of CSU should be commended for stepping up to the plate to host debates for the US Senate seat and Governor’s office. The fact these debates will be held on the campus of an HBCU speaks volumes to the value of these institutions. Furthermore, this partnership illustrates ODC’s commitment to making sure all communities in Ohio are informed and engaged in the electoral process,” added Harrell, Jr.

Ohio’s US Senate seat is open due to Senator Rob Portman’s retirement.

The candidates for the US Senate Republican nomination are State Senator Matt Dolan, businessman Mike Gibbons, Bill Graham, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, Neil Patel, Mark Pukita, former chair of the Ohio Republican Party Jane Timken, and author J.D. Vance. Vying for the Democratic nomination are attorney Morgan Harper, Traci Johnson, Congressman Tim Ryan, and LaShondra Tinsley.

The candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Ohio Governor are former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, while the Republican gubernatorial office-seekers are Joe Blystone, a central Ohio farmer, incumbent Governor Mike DeWine, former State Representative Ron Hood, and former Congressman Jim Renacci.

Information about the submission of questions from the public and the ability to register for tickets will be released later, including through social media and at ohiodebatecommission.org.

Candidate participation criteria is being shared with candidates and will be available on the ODC website in the coming days.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Central State University community to contribute to our state’s election, while setting an example of civic engagement and shining a light on the outstanding academic strengths of our institution,” said Mark Hatcher, Central State University Board of Trustees Chair. “Public service and community leadership are at the core of our great university and its history.”

“As a nonpartisan convener, with several dozen partnerships for airing and covering the debates throughout Ohio, the ODC is eager to host these debates at Central State, an unprecedented selection,” said ODC Executive Director Jill Zimon. “We are thrilled to combine the candidates’ passion for serving Ohio with our ability to conduct high quality debates and help Ohio voters become well-informed before they cast their votes.”