Ohio Debate Commission


Frequently Asked Questions

Gubernatorial debate information

What, where and when: The Ohio Debate Commission and Cleveland State University will host a gubernatorial debate between Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, and Richard Cordray, the former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on Monday, October 8, from 7:00PM-8:00PM in the Cleveland State University Student Center Ballroom.

Moderators: Three Ohio-based journalists will ask the questions. Karen Kasler, Statehouse Bureau Chief of Ohio Public Radio and Television, will moderate the program. She is also the host, moderator and a producer of the weekly politics and elections program, "The State of Ohio”. Jerry Revish, nightly news anchor for WBNS-TV in Columbus, and Jackie Borchardt, Columbus Bureau Chief for the Cincinnati Enquirer and USA Today Network, will be the panelists for the debate. Revish has been an award-winning reporter at WBNS since June 1980 and began his broadcasting career in his hometown of Youngstown. Borchardt has covered Ohio politics and government since 2012 and previously worked for cleveland.com and the Dayton Daily News.

Format: The candidates, moderators and panelists will be seated at a round table throughout the debate. Questions will not be asked by any members of the audience, but the moderator and panelists may develop questions derived ones submitted by Ohioans through the Ohio Debate Commission website.

How to watch: This debate will be broadcast on television, radio and via live-stream on our website here. We will provide a list of participating media for you to download by October 8, 2018.

Tickets: There are no tickets available to the general public but you can continue to submit questions here for the moderators to consider up through Monday, October 8.

U.S. Senate debate information

What, where and when: The Ohio Debate Commission will host the first U.S. Senate debate of the general election cycle with Incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and Republican Congressman Jim Renacci on Sunday, October 14, from 6:00PM-7:00PM in the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre located in the Idea Center at Playhouse Square

Moderators: This debate will have two moderators - Ann Fisher of WOSU Public Media, serving Central Ohio, and Russ Mitchell of WKYC in Cleveland. Fisher joined WOSU in 2009 after nearly 30 years in the newspaper business. She has covered politics, public affairs, culture, media, and business over the course of her career. Mitchell is a former anchor of the CBS Evening News weekend editions and The Early Show on Saturday, and national correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning, the CBS Evening News, and The Early Show. He joined the staff of WKYC as Managing Editor Evening News and lead anchor of the 6pm and 11pm newscasts in 2012.

Format and questions: The candidates will be at lecterns or podiums during this debate. Pre-vetted questions will be asked by members of the audience, and also will be developed and asked by the moderators.

Submit a question: You can submit questions in writing or by video by visiting this Submit a Question page and send it in.

How to watch: This debate will be broadcast on television, radio and via live-stream on our website here. We will provide a list of participating media for you to download by October 14, 2018.

Tickets: You can fill out and then submit this online ticket request form for tickets. Online form submission will be the only way to obtain a ticket for this debate, although it does not guarantee one due to the size of the venue.

About the Commission

When and why was the Commission founded?

  • After many election cycles of politicians in Ohio being unwilling to debate, a group of civic and media organizations and universities came together in 2018 in order to form the Ohio Debate Commission. The Commission aims to oversee political debates for the highest offices in Ohio to ensure their quality and fairness. Read more on our "about" page.

Is the Ohio Debate Commission government funded?

  • No. Since its founding, the Ohio Debate Commission has been sustained on in-kind and charitable contributions, and has received no government funding.

Submitting a Question

Can I only submit a question if I can be in attendance?

  • No, we encourage submissions from all across Ohio. Ohioans will be able to submit videos of themselves asking questions through Facebook, Email, among other platforms. We want our debates to be of interest to everyone, so regardless of where in Ohio you live, we want to know what’s on your mind!

Do I have to live in Ohio to submit a question?

  • Yes. While we appreciate all enthusiasm for open, civil discourse, we need to focus the content of our debates on the issues Ohioans care most about.

How do you decide what questions are asked?

  • All questions that are asked during a debate are reviewed and selected by a committee of Commission members. Questions are evaluated for quality, as well as diversity in topic, in order to ensure that the debates thoroughly cover as many different areas of interest as possible.

Who Gets to Debate

Who gets to debate?

  • In 2018, our first year, Commission members invited the candidates of major political parties to participate in debates. The Ohio Revised Code defines a major political party as “any political party organized under the laws of this state whose candidate for governor or nominees for presidential electors received not less than twenty per cent of the total vote cast for such office at the most recent regular state election.”  We are committed to providing voters an opportunity to engage with and hear from candidates, and debates with major party candidates meet that criteria.

What about third party candidates?

  • We are committed to democratic processes, and we understand the “major political party” definition presents a very high threshold. We plan on using other vehicles to provide voters information and access to third party candidates who have qualified for the ballot.

How did you decide on these policies?

  • It wasn’t easy. Of all the decisions Commission members make, this is the one that was probably discussed and debated the most. Ultimately, after lots of discussion among the Commission members, as well as looking at the examples of the other statewide debate Commissions and reviewing the Ohio Revised Code of Law, we decided that this is the best system for us to use for this election cycle.

How can third party candidates spread their message?

  • However they want (including at our October 15th forum - see below). We want voters to be able to make informed decisions about who they vote for, so we encourage all candidates to be in contact with various media outlets throughout the state, use social media, and schedule events to try and reach as many potential voters as they can. We will help spread the word about earned media coverage when we can.

Is the Commission sponsoring any forum to which all candidates for Ohio Governor will be invited?

  • We are indeed! On Tuesday, October 15 at the City Club of Cleveland, the Ohio Debate Commission will present Governor of Ohio Candidate Forum. Read more here, buy tickets and bring friends.