THE BLADE/LORI KING
Just days before Toledo’s mayoral primary election, The Blade and media partner WTVG-TV, Channel 13 will hold a debate among the top candidates.
The media outlets will co-host the debate on Sept. 4, less than a week before the Sept. 10 mayoral primary, which will reduce the field to two final candidates from the seven who have filed and an eighth write-in candidate.
The debate will include incumbent Mayor Mike Bell, an independent, and challengers Toledo Councilman D. Michael Collins, also an independent, as well as Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and Councilman Joe McNamara, both Democrats.
Blade Executive Editor Kurt Franck called the debate an opportunity to see the candidates interact face-to-face.
“They’ve been talking about how they are going to change the city if elected,” Mr. Franck said. “Let’s see them in action.”
Details on the format were still being finalized as of Monday, said Anthony Knopps, WTVG’s assistant news director, but it has been decided that the debate will be held at the station’s studio without an audience and will run from 7 to 8 p.m.
“13abc is proud once again to partner with The Toledo Blade and bring this debate to our audience,” Mr. Knopps said in an email. “We believe it’s important that the people of Toledo hear from the person who will lead our city for the next four years.”
The debate excludes three candidates who will appear on the primary ballot: Independent Alan Cox, Libertarian Michael Konwinski, and evangelist Opal Covey, who is listed in Lucas County voter records as a Democrat but who is running as a Republican. Donald Gozdowski, who filed to run as a write-in candidate, also was not invited to the debate.
There will be a panel of three questioners during the debate, including Blade politics reporter Tom Troy, WTVG political reporter Bill Hormann, and a WTVG news anchor.
Another anchor will serve as moderator, Mr. Knopps said.
That debate won’t be the only one among the mayoral candidates.
The local chapter of the NAACP will sponsor a debate between 6 and 8 p.m. today at the Stephenson-Roberts Hall, 640 Indiana Ave.
The top four candidates are also scheduled to debate Aug. 22 at the University of Toledo in an event co-sponsored by UT’s College of Law and the Toledo Fair Housing Center.
That debate will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in UT’s McQuade Law Auditorium, 1825 W. Rocket Dr.