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Four Democrats Running For Governor Debate A Third Time, Knowing Field Will Likely Get Larger Soon

Connie Pillich, Joe Schiavoni, Betty Sutton and Nan Whaley prepare to give opening remarks at the City Club of Cleveland debate.

Democratic candidates for Ohio governor faced off last night in City Club of Cleveland debate held at the Idea Center. Although they criticized Republican leadership in Columbus, one major GOP leader didn’t get much mention.

President Trump won Ohio by 8 points last year, and the candidates largely steered clear of directly criticizing him last night. After the debate, State Sen. Joe Schiavoni said he doesn’t start meetings on the campaign trail with questions about 2016. “Let’s talk about 2018, let’s talk about how we can build a stronger Ohio. That way, you’re talking about everybody, you’re not saying it’s us against them. If a Democrat doesn’t pick up Trump crossover voters, we’re dead.”

Schiavoni is from the Youngstown area, and said he can appeal to crossover voters.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley described herself as a progressive in the reddest part of the state. She said last year’s vote was about frustration, and said she can relate, because her city feels forgotten and ignored by the Statehouse.

Four Democratic candidates for Ohio governor largely avoided criticizing one another in last night’s City Club of Cleveland debate, but they did talk about how they say they’d tackle the opioid crisis.


Former Congresswoman Betty Sutton criticized GOP gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Mike DeWine, but said she agreed with his decision to sue drug companies. “We should hold them accountable, but we also need prevention. We also need education. We need more beds for treatment. We need jobs and opportunities for everyday Ohioans.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley proposed charging drug makers 5 cents for every dose of prescription painkiller sold. “They’re the ones that are making huge profits on this stuff…That will help us have a sustainable funding source. This is about justice for taxpayers, justice for people that have lost loved ones.”

State Sen. Joe Schiavoni said Ohio should spend part of its rainy day fund on the crisis, and former State Rep. Connie Pillich said treatment dollars must keep flowing into the state through Medicaid expansion.

Richard Cordray, the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is expected to announce his run for governor later today. He received criticism from a fellow Democrat during last night’s City Club of Cleveland debate. Former State Representative Connie Pillich spoke highly of Cordray’s work with the bureau, but not his decision to leave it.


“And now Rich Cordray has abandoned that post. He’s turned it over to Donald Trump, but he left no organized succession plan in place, and it’s chaotic.”

Cordray’s chosen deputy, Leandra English, has sued the Trump administration, after the president selected budget director Mick Mulvaney as interim head of the bureau.

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