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Published: Tuesday, 6/13/2006

Blackwell, Strickland OK debates for governor

Summer is for picnics, concerts, and now... debates?

Ohio's leading candidates for governor agreed yesterday to debate one another early and often before the Nov. 7 election.

Republican Kenneth Blackwell accepted Democrat Ted Strickland's challenge to stage a series of forums and suggested times and locations starting Thursday; Mr. Strickland said he was pleased and appointed a former Democratic National Committee chairman, David Wilhelm, to negotiate details with the Blackwell campaign.

Mr. Blackwell, who did not debate his GOP opponent in the weeks before the May 2 primary, has criticized Mr. Strickland for declining joint appearance invitations this month. Mr. Strickland, who debated his primary opponent, said in an interview last week that he was eager to debate Mr. Blackwell.

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